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Scarborough Town Centre Plan Moves Forward

Scarborough Town Centre Plan Moves Forward

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Carl Gavaghan at 3:01pm 16th June 2020. (Updated at 3:41pm 16th June 2020)

A disused building in Scarborough town centre is set to be demolished to make way for 200 flats for students and NHS staff and an associated market square.

Scarborough Council’s cabinet today agreed in principle to progress with the £22 million plan, financed through borrowing, for the former Argos building in Newborough.

It would be replaced with a scheme drawn up in collaboration with Coventry University Scarborough and the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs services at Scarborough Hospital.

As part of the plans, the council is also looking to creating a “market square” which could include demolishing some buildings at St Helen’s Square, which is adjacent to the Argos site.

The councillors on the cabinet heard that both schemes could “unlock” tens of millions of pounds of funding the council was in the process of applying for through the Towns Fund and Future High Street Funds.

During the meeting, held on online platform Zoo, the authority’s cabinet member for Housing Cllr Carl Maw said the market square development was “absolutely essential to the regeneration of the area”.

The cabinet voted to progress with both schemes in principle, providing a number of viability assessments are met.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for Inclusive Growth Cllr Liz Colling said the developments had risks but were vital to the borough’s future.

She said:

“We all accept the economic environment will be difficult but I absolutely believe that the council’s post-covid recovery is an opportunity for us to build back better.

It’s an opportunity to undertake strategic investments to kickstart our economy and I’m firmly of the belief that this should be us in our civic leadership role that does that.

It is an opportunity to improve our offer for young people. We have all seen that we are losing young people who are leaving the area to further their careers or their education.

It’s an opportunity to attract skilled professionals that our NHS needs and never has that been more starkly highlighted than over the last few months..

We all know the issues of deprivation in this area and this is an opportunity to make a real step change in our borough.”

Independent cabinet member Cllr Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff was a sceptic of the scheme when it went before the council last year.

At today’s meeting, she said that it was important the scheme moved forward.

She added:

“I voted against the proposal but I’m a democrat and believe if people vote for something then you should implement it.

If we don’t do it nobody else will and we will end up in an even worse situation due to the economy.

If we in local government and national government don’t spend money in the next few years, then we are in big trouble.”

Conservative Cllr David Jeffels, a member of the shadow cabinet set up by the opposition party, called for a “short deferral” of the decision to see what impact the pandemic would have on potential funding of the scheme.

He said:

“When the council approved the proposals for the redevelopment of the Argos site complex last July, the world was very different to what it is today as a result of the pandemic.

The aspirations for the site were in many ways commendable but today we need to focus on the regeneration of our town centre as a whole.”

Cllr Colling said the decision would be subject to a delay anyway, as it was contingent on a number of conditions being met before it became official, including the granting of planning permission which is not expected before the end of September.

Comments

There are 7 comments on this page.

Peter croft, on 16th June 2020 6:47pm
Yet another multi million pound investment in Scarborough
Can anyone name a multi million pound investment made by the the council that is outside of scarborough
Financed by borough tax payers only invested in Scarborough town, there is still no precept in Scarborough so all the borough is subsidising one area.
yorkshireboy, on 16th June 2020 9:13pm
£22m borrowed.

Add any charges against the loan.

Since when has SBC provided brand new rented accommodation and as these flats will not be tenanted for a full 12 months just how long will it be before this huge loan is paid off.

And is there a desperate need for flats in the town centre for NHS staff.

I can see this been another Futurist, North Bay fiasco.

Instead of borrowing money how about SBC getting money in on the loans they have given out
yorkshireboy, on 17th June 2020 7:53am
It makes really good reading especially as today the BBC are running a story about how councils will have to cut more services as they just don't have the money.

Should they take a leaf out of the SBC way of working.

Lend out huge amounts to developers that can't afford to pay it back.

Spend huge amounts knocking down buildings and then sit with empty places that you argue about.

Spend £22 of borrowed money to knock down buildings in order to build flats for students.

Malcolm Fletcher, on 17th June 2020 9:29am
I find it incredible that the Council are prepared to spend £22 million of taxpayers money on a project that will only be worth £7.5million, a loss of £14.5million on the initial investment. Then hope and pray the shortfall can be recovered from future rents.
It is just bad business practice.
zara, on 17th June 2020 12:46pm
Could Councillor Colling please explain exactly how building flats for students (from other areas) and NHS staff is going to alleviate 'issues of deprivation in the area'? Seems a bit of a stupid statement actually. Also could Councillor Donohue-Moncrieffs change of heart on this project have anything to her being independent last year and this year she is 'independent' on the cabinet (or is that too cynical of me). Lost my vote that is for sure! I had a long talk with her before the election and i actually very stupidly believed her. As soon as she got the chance to get on the cabinet suddenly her views change.
Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff, on 18th June 2020 12:50pm
Zara, I am always available via telephone, email, Facebook and Twitter. So I was somewhat surprised to see your comments about myself which are based on a fraction of what I actually said at the meeting.

As the report clearly shows I made it clear that I still had concerns about the project but the Council had already made the decision to approve the redevelopment of the Argos on the terms which were subsequently made public. As much as I don’t like it, I believe I have to respect it.

As I made clear to Yorkshire Coast Radio last year, if a third party had come in wanting to redevelop the Argos building I would have supported them.

One of the reasons, I voted against the proposal in July 2019 was that it committed Scarborough Borough Council to taking ownership of the Argos site even if the student accommodation wasn’t built.

It is my view that whatever happens the Argos Building will have to be demolished. We would end up with another Futurist site. Let me be clear, I have not changed my mind on that issue.

Due to this decision, the Council and the taxpayer are now stuck with the Argos site. The current economic climate due to Covid-19 makes it extremely unlikely an alternative investor could be found for the site.

The work over the next few months would initially involve planning and the inevitable demolition of the building. If the full contract goes forward the Main Contractor will be on site in the early 2021. as someone, who knows how difficult it is for construction companies at the moment, I came down on the side of doing something with the site rather than waiting years for the right investor.

Joining Cabinet has not changed my views. I made clear on Tuesday that my views on the original decision had not changed?
I took a decision based on the new reality that last year’s decision and the extremely tough economic times ahead.
Karl Doab, on 17th June 2020 7:36pm
I think getting rid of that awful building is good news. Good to see a Councilllor respect democracy and implement a decision even if they didn’t vote for it last year. For doing the right thing she gets attacked. Remember if other politicians had acted the same we wouldn’t have had the nightmare of Brexit.

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