Parcel office conversion to start soon

FUNDING is now in place for the conversion of the old parcels office at Scarborough railway station into artists’ studios, with work due to start by early summer.

Members of the public, and in particular artists, are invited to visit the Town Hall until Friday this week to have a look at the plans and put their ideas forward.

The Grade 2 listed Victorian building will accommodate 20 artists’ studios and could become a hub for the development of a visual arts network in that part of the town.

Originally, it was hoped that more than £1 million could be invested in the scheme to include teaching and workshop spaces, but the group behind the project have now set a more modest budget of just under £500,000. The latest grant has come from English Heritage, with other funding sources including the Railway Heritage Trust.

Jo Davis, of the Scarborough Studios Group, a partnership of local artists, architects, community representatives and Scarborough Council, said they would no longer be able to offer workshop spaces. However, there was a real demand for artists’ studios, and there was a possibility that other spaces in the vicinity could be rented out.

Although funding is in place for the first year of the studios’ operation, the aim is for the centre to become self-funding.

Ms Davis said: “Scarborough is undergoing a much-publicised renaissance and the studios are very much part of that. Scarborough Railway Station is to undergo a facelift in the future and the use and visual impact of all their buildings is under review.

“It is the group’s aim to provide a true centre of excellence in the visual arts, situated opposite the Steven Joseph Theatre which has undoubtedly put Scarborough on the map with the performing arts.”

She said the initial proposals had been well received by both artists and people interested in the history of the building and it was important to let everyone know the project was still going ahead. The plans have been on the drawing board for three years and are now going out to tender.

However, there is still time for individual artists to make representations about their own requirements. For more information, visit the Town Hall foyer to see the display or contact Jo Davis on (01947) 810101.