Disputed resort land given the go-ahead £140m plan

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A council leader has agreed to push ahead with the sale of land to ensure a £140m regeneration project in a Yorkshire seaside resort remains on track.

The freehold of phase one of The Sands development, in Scarborough, which includes seafront apartments, will be sold to Benchmark Leisure despite major opposition from councillors.

Scarborough Council’s Cabinet agreed to the sale in June, however the decision was called in over fears the authority would lose control of the site.

The decision was deferred to leader Coun John Fox following a debate at a council meeting last month and yesterday it was revealed the sale was set to go ahead.

Scarborough Council’s strategic director David Archer said: “The arrangement has been put in place at the request of the developer to enable him to secure the necessary funding to move the project forward. The banks required the freehold of the site to enable him to secure the funding.”

Coun Fox has stipulated the sale must only go ahead on condition the council is given the option to buy back the land for the same amount at the end of the lease.

Mr Archer said: “The main concern of the Scrutiny Committee was that the council would essentially be losing control by giving up the freehold. We have taken on board comments by the committee and full council and as a result of that safeguards have been put in place giving the council the option to buy the land back. We are not selling the land off, through this arrangement the council has retained control of the site.”

The Sands Project in the town’s North Bay has been dubbed “the most significant redevelopment of Scarborough in recent times”. Plans are due to be submitted for the third phase of the development, which will see a multi-million pound waterpark built.