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Scarborough Town Centre Plan Goes for Re-Examination

Scarborough Town Centre Plan Goes for Re-Examination

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Carl Gavaghan at 4:26pm 22nd June 2020.

Scarborough Council’s Cabinet is being asked to look again at its plans to borrow £22million to turn a disused building in Scarborough town centre into 200 flats for students and NHS staff.

The authority’s Cabinet took the decision to proceed with the scheme last week, but that move has now been the subject of two separate call-ins by councillors.

Five Conservative councillors and five independents have signed call-ins, which asks the council to send the matter back to its Overview and Scrutiny Board to be reviewed.

Scarborough Council plans to replace the former Argos building in Newborough 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.

However, concerns have now been raised about the viability of the scheme due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on local authority finances.

The Conservative call-in, led by the group’s leader and deputy leader, councillors Derek Bastiman and Heather Phillips, says the decision was taken “without due regard to the massive change in the economic outlook for Scarborough Council”.

The call-in, also signed by Conservative councillors Marion Watson, Glenn Goodberry and Phil Trumper, raises concerns the group has about the pre-decision scrutiny process and says elected members should be given the chance to re-examine the project.

It concludes:

“The current economic climate is so uncertain it would be incredibly risky to commit every man, woman and children who live in our borough to spending over £200 per person.

It is difficult to support a project on this scale when it is not readily apparent how it will benefit the whole borough.”

A second, separate call-in has also been lodged by the Cluster of Independent Members (CIM) leader Cllr Bill Chatt. Signed by his fellow councillors Mike Cockerill (CIM), John Casey (Independent) and Sam Cross and Neil Heritage (no political affiliation), Cllr Chatt’s motion calls for the issue to once more be debated by Full Council.

Cllr Chatt told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it was “not the same world” as when the scheme was last voted on by the full authority in July 2019.

He added:

“Members need to talk about this again see if it is still worth going forward with. If it is then okay, go ahead, but it needs re-evaluation and discussion.”

Cllr Chatt pointed to the council taking the decision to accept reduced rent from Travelodge, which operates out of a council-owned building of how the authority’s finances were changing.

No date has yet been given on when one or both of the call-ins will be heard by the Overview and Scrutiny Board. The board can make recommendations to the Cabinet for it to consider.

At last week’s Cabinet meeting the councillors voted to progress with both the accommodation and market square schemes in principle, providing a number of viability assessments are met.

During the meeting, Labour 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.”

 

Comments

There are 3 comments on this page.

yorkshireboy, on 23rd June 2020 9:19am
At long last a bit of common sense.

If accommodation is needed for students then the uni should be on the case.

SBC should not be banging out £22m at a time when all councils are crying the poor tale.

We have seen so much cash totally wasted on demolition schemes that have resulted in what is in effect now waste land.

If SBC have money to throw out then throw it into services that have been cut.
zara, on 23rd June 2020 4:30pm
I am still trying to work out how it is going to help our young people? The accommodation is for students and NHS staff. If our young people are in either of those categories they will most likely be still living at home as it is cheaper so how does this benefit them.. If the council could attract more jobs here that would probably be a bit of a bigger help to them!
cargodave, on 24th June 2020 6:50am
Its all about the council borrowing public money to make money as landlords theres plenty of accomodation in scarborough for all students and nurses as it is. also they are struggling to find investment for the town centre, they should have looked after it better, sbc has earnt a lot of money over the years my feeling they have never really put back into the town centre getting by with the minimum for decades, for the second most visited town outside of london it pretty shoddy really a bit like many of the buildings.

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