‘Impressive’ stadium schemes go on parade before planners
Key meetings have been held between Scarborough Borough Council and the six companies in line to secure the lucrative contract to construct a new leisure village, which will also provide a ground for the town’s football team.
Representatives from all six firms, the identifies of which have not been officially disclosed, gave presentations to senior council officers on Wednesday and Thursday last week.
The six candidates were chosen from 12 potential developers who had submitted proposals to the council, and a decision will be taken in the autumn to halve the number again to create another shortlist.
It is hoped that the developer chosen to build the leisure village will be announced early next year.
Council leader Tom Fox claimed the authority had been “extremely impressed” by the presentations given by all six developers.
He added: “This is a huge decision to take, and we are hoping to make an announcement at the end of this year or the beginning of next as to who the successful bidder is.
“This will mark a watershed in sports provision for Scarborough and the surrounding area, and we obviously need to make sure that the most suitable candidate is chosen.”
Scarborough’s football fans have been battling to keep the sport alive in the town after one of the oldest clubs in the country was consigned to history when it was wound up four years ago.
Scarborough FC’s 128-year history ended in June 2007 when it became a casualty of crippling £2.5m debts and the failure of the board and the council to agree terms on lifting restrictions preventing the sale of the McCain Stadium to house-builders.
The town’s new fledgling football team, Scarborough Athletic FC, has been forced to conduct “home” games at Bridlington, 22 miles and more than 30 minutes away by road.
But it is now hoped that the new leisure village will be completed within three years and football will be able to return to Scarborough for the 2014/15 season.
A public consultation has been launched by the council to glean views on three development documents to pave the way for the leisure village on a Weaponness Valley site, which is owned by the authority.
To finance the scheme, two other council-owned sites – the former McCain Stadium in Seamer Road, which was the home of the now defunct Scarborough Football Club, and the Filey Road Sports Centre – need to be sold off.
Development briefs are having to be drawn up to ensure that the proposals for all three sites meet planning guidelines.
The public consultation will run until August 8, and developers will then provide in depth reports to the council on how they would use the three briefs to shape the creation of the leisure village.
The council has voted to demolish the Seamer Road stadium, which has been blighted by vandalism and arson attacks while it has stood derelict since the football club was wound up.
It was announced in April that Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club had agreed to buy two of the stands from the Seamer Road site and carry out demolition as part of the deal.
The council exercised the right to buy back the Seamer Road site from the liquidators in 2007. But by the time a fair market price of £1.3m was agreed and paid in December 2008, the Seamer Road ground had suffered so much from theft and vandalism it would have cost £1m to make it fit for purpose again.
Rather than place a financial burden on the football clubs that would use the stadium and risk them going bust as well, the council decided to re-develop the land and look elsewhere for a site for a new stadium.