Crucial vote on demolition of seaside theatre

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THE BULLDOZERS could finally move in on an East Coast landmark next Spring after council officers recommended approval of a £4m demolition plan.

Conservative-led Scarborogh Council will meet on January 9 to decide whether to back the scheme, which includes demolishing the Futurist Theatre, once one of the best known seaside venues in the country, and stabilising the cliff behind it.

The cleared area would then be redeveloped by Flamingoland, which according to a report, retains a “strong” committment to the site.

Leader of Scarborough Borough Council Derek Bastiman said if members didn’t support the recommendation, the town would be left with an eyesore.

He said: “The matter has been discussed since 2010 and there has been various scrutiny meetings and public consultation and the result remains the same - that there’s no future for the Futurist in Scarborough.”

Leader of the Labour Group Steve Siddons said they needed to see the detail of a technical report before making a decision: He said: “There will be a briefing on January 5. We are conscious of everybody’s views.

“We want to take the right decision and can’t do that till we have all the evidence before us.”

Coun Siddons said the work would open up the site behind all the way to St Nicholas Street. He added: “It isn’t just simply about the Futurist theatre, it’’s about the regeneration of the town centre and that’s an absolutely key decision. The town centre is desperately in need of refurbishment.”

Campaigners fighting to save the building have called for a recorded vote at the full council meeting. They are holding a public meeting on January 5 at Scarborough’s YMCA Theatre.

It comes after nearly 300 people attended a meeting in November with a Facebook Live video stream reaching almost 19,000 people demonstrating “the huge weight of public support” for the Futurist. Patricia David, of Save The Futurist, said: “We have a local election coming up and we need to know which councillors voted for and against.

“There are people who have moved from being pro-demolition to sitting on the fence and some who have moved from sitting on the fence to being in support of saving the Futurist.

“It’s all to be played for.”

If councillors agree, the council will employ contractors Willmott Dixon to undertake the work.

A report says the method of demolition is “critical” as knocking down the Futurist “will trigger instability in the slope above.”

A feasibility study proposes to dig 4m into King Street car park creating a “development platform”, and then a second slope at 45 degrees to form a lower development platform.

In its budget-setting meeting in February the council agreed a financial strategy, including adding £4m to the capital programme for the redevelopment of the site.

A Scarborough Council spokesman said: “The report, which will be debated at a full council meeting of Scarborough Borough Council on Monday January 9, asks councillors whether they wish to support the allocation of funding for the demolition of the Futurist theatre and associated stabilisation of the adjacent cliff.

“The report is a culmination of extensive reporting, engagement and decision-making over many years, including an in depth scrutiny review process in 2010.”

No one was available to comment from Flamingoland.