POSSIBLE redevelopment of a prime location in Scarborough’s South Bay will be put out for public consultation after councillors authorised the move.
The decision was taken during yesterday’s meeting of Scarborough Council’s planning committee after it first raised concerns that a proposed move from the current Town Hall base had already been decided.
Committee chairman Cllr Jane Mortimer said the planning brief, which will be considered by potential developers, contained the option of changing the use of the Town Hall building and suggested schemes could suggest the move before the final decision was to be taken.
And Cllr Dorothy Clegg said she was concerned about the effect such a move could have on town centre businesses.
Cllr Nick Brown said he felt like Baldrick, the character from Blackadder, when he described the move as a “cunning plan” to dispose of both the Town Hall as well as the Futurist Theatre.
He added: “It is a theatre that puts on entertainment that people want to watch.”
Cllr Godfrey Allanson said he wanted to keep an open mind on what was being proposed and added that he was glad that something was finally being done.
He said: “We’ve got to the stage that things are going out for consultation – questions can be asked and comments made. Nothing has got done so far and it’s always been a hotch-potch. Something has got to be done.”
Cllr Allanson said that he hoped due consideration would be given to better lighting because the area around the Town Hall was a haven for binge drinkers and you had to pick your steps carefully. He said: “It’s really disgusting around there.”
Cllr Brian Watson said that a proposal to change the Town Hall into a hotel would not work. He added: “Anybody who suggests we are going to fill this building as a hotel – with a bankrupt hotel across the road – is whistling in the wind.”
Cllr Mortimer said: “It’s important not just for Scarborough but for the borough as a whole.”
It is understood that the period of public consultation will last for eight weeks and the matter will return to the Planning Committee in June. Members of the Cabinet will then consider the findings in July and the recommendations will be published in September.