Scarborough's Brunswick Shopping Centre to close for over a year as new cinema-led redevelopment takes place
Planning permission was granted last week for the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Brunswick shopping centre in the town.
The centre currently has 18 shops but has been suffering in recent years with vacancies linked to a decline in footfall and the closure of anchor tenant Debenhams in 2021.
It will now be redeveloped around a major new cinema with between seven and 11 screens, with new activity-based companies and food and drink outlets envisioned alongside it. The redeveloped centre is expected to be open by summer 2025, with the new facilities creating around 300 jobs.
Mark Jackson, Group Development Director at site owner Scarborough Group International, told The Yorkshire Post that a couple of existing tenants have expressed an interest in continuing at the redeveloped shopping centre.
But he added: “I think the centre will almost definitely have to shut fully to enable the development.
"When you factor in health and safety issues around construction, it probably will mean a full shutdown which we obviously want to phase appropriately with occupiers. Any that want to stay in, we will work out individual deals whether they temporarily relocate or go on holiday for 18 months. We are very much open to those discussions.”
He said talks on the cinema operator have narrowed down to three potential companies, with a decision expected this month and a public announcement likely to follow shortly afterwards.
That will then lead onto more detailed talks with other potential occupiers.
He said: “The target is to by the end of the year get everything lined up and ready to start early next year.”
Mr Jackson said there is clear demand for a large cinema in the town.
"When I was a kid, Scarborough had four cinemas. Now it has one with one screen but it isn’t a big-screen multiplex and you have to drive a long way to find one.”
The scheme will be funded by a mix of private and public sector investment.
The decision to green-light the scheme came in the final planning committee hearing of Scarborough Borough Council, which is being subsumed into the new North Yorkshire Council formally starting next month.
Mr Jackson said there had been a “good working relationship” with the borough council and there has also been “really good engagement” with officials from the new North Yorkshire Council who will help take the scheme forward.
"High streets are in trouble nationally and this isn’t a walk in the park. It needs a lot of ingenuity, experience and give and take to make work.”
Councillor Steve Siddons, leader of the borough council, said: “It has long-been an ambition of the Council to bring a cinema to the centre of Scarborough.
“I am delighted that the Planning and Development Committee has voted in favour of granting planning permission for the redevelopment of the Brunswick – including a new cinema.
"It means the centre will take on a new role at the heart of Scarborough town, bolstering the evening economy and creating new jobs.
“This was a great result for the final Planning and Development Committee of Scarborough Borough Council.”