D-day delayed on contentious town hall move

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The fate of Scarborough’s historic Town Hall will be sealed on Friday after senior councillors chose to delay the decision over its proposed relocation.

Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet was due to decide yesterday whether to agree to push ahead with controversial plans that will see the authority move out of the Grade II listed building on St Nicholas Street, which it has occupied for over a century.

But councillors chose to stave off their final decision until a crunch meeting of the full council on Friday amid concerns they are being rushed into making a final choice.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last week that the council had unveiled proposals to relocate to a new site in order to free up the town hall for redevelopment as part of wider multi-million pound plans to regenerate the town centre and seafront.

It is considering a £3m offer from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which will be used to buy the new site, in exchange for an equity share in the redevelopment of the Futurist and town hall sites, which could be carried out sooner as a result.

However, the council has had less than a week to decide whether to accept the offer from the HCA due to restrictions that require the funds to be committed within this financial year.

Speaking at yesterday’s cabinet meeting, Coun Janet Jefferson, whose ward includes the town hall site, said residents across the borough should be allowed to have their say before a final decision is reached.

She also raised concerns over the impact the move would have on the town centre economy and questioned the results of an independent study which has stated the relocation would have “little quantitative material impact”.

“The decision is being rushed and I think we need consultation with everybody,” said Coun Jefferson.

“This building belongs to Scarborough and the borough, and residents, who are very proud of it, have not been consulted, which really upsets me.”