THE FATE of a Scarborough landmark is expected to be sealed next week as councillors are asked to approve funding for its demolition.
Councillors are expected to agree the authority should meet the expected £4m cost of bulldozing the Futurist Theatre on the South Bay sea front.
The theatre’s future has been the subject of a longrunning battle in the town amid calls for investment to preserve it as a venue that could attract world class productions.
It has been boarded up since 2014 when the existing operator’s licence came to an end and the council, which owns the building, was unable to find a new one.
The council’s position has remained unchanged since 2013 that the building is beyond repair and redevelopment is the best option.
Flamingo Land, the North Yorkshire theme park, has an agreement in place to buy the site for a new sea front attraction.
However, the deal is based on Scarborough Council clearing the site before Flamingo Land moves in.
Demolishing the Futurist will be complicated by the instability in the slope behind the building.
A report for councillors prepared ahead of next week’s meeting says a safe method of demolishing the building has now been found.
It warns the alternative to approving funding for the building’s demolition would be the council paying for ongoing maintenance to prevent it becoming a danger to health and safety.
The report says: “The council is already facing financial challenges due to austerity.
“Members would need to be mindful of the impact of any ongoing budgetary requirements in respect of the theatre.”
Flamingo Land’s commitment to redeveloping the site “remain strong”, the report says.
A £4m budget for the demolition of the Futurist was earmarked by the council last Febriary.
Campaigners will continue to try and convince councillors to revisit plans for the Futurist ahead of next week’s meeting.
In its latest leaflet, the Save the Futurist campaign claims the cost of repairing and restoring the building would come to just £3m, less than the expected cost of demolition.
“Once modernised and restored, our Futurist theatre could be a sustainable community asset capable of continually attracting world-class product, many thousands of cultural tourists and the associated economic boost; benefiting every Scarborough resident for years to come,” it says.
The campaign group said it wanted councillors to “consider and reconsider the far reaching social, economic and cultural consequences of their decision, irrespective of party-politics”.
It continued: “We appeal to our councillors’ good sense in allowing us to once and for all prove that Scarborough’s Futurist, fully modernised and beautifully restored is an economic and cultural asset worth saving.”
Flamingo Land revealed its plans for the Futurist site last year. The new indoor attraction will be called Flamingo Land Coast and will include a water-slide, lake and a space-rocket-themed thrill ride.
Scarborough Council will consider the proposal to demolish the Futurist at its meeting on Monday.