It is easy to say why I like Scarborough, with its contrasting bays and Marine Drive and the beautiful countryside of Hackness and the North Yorkshire Moors close by, it’s the best place on the east coast of the UK. It’s the geography which makes Scarborough.
But what should Scarborough do next to elevate itself as a vibrant town?
With the advent of out of town shopping and internet retailing, town centres are in the firing line with their backs against the wall. Any solution which tinkers around the edges will have mediocre success and simply fail to stop our town centre becoming a ghetto in the next two decades. Solutions to turn this around have to be brave and these are my suggestions.
1. Reduce retail rates in the defined town centre by 50% in those cases where landlords agree to cut their rent by the same proportion.
2. Find a way to joint fund a roof over Huntriss Row, Bar Street and part of the main street up to Vernon Road, providing dry shopping conditions which can compete with the McArthur Glen Designer outlet on the outskirts of York.
3. Immediately reduce parking costs by 50 per cent and get rid of double yellow lines where they are not really necessary.
4. Retailers who employ staff and pay rates should have the right to stop people photographing their bar codes and buying the same thing off the internet. These shops are the heart of communities which give a town vitality and sustainability – internet warehouses do not provide town centres.
5. Scarborough Council should devise an ambitious plan to achieve Great Britain’s cleanest town centre, which in itself would attract more people and a better social environment.