50/50 split on town hall decision

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A CONSULTATION asking whether Scarborough Town Hall should relocate recorded an almost 50/50 split.

As part of Scarborough Borough, residents in Whitby were invited to submit their choice about whether the town hall should remain in its current location on St Nicholas Street, or whether it should move to Prospect House, near Morrisons at Eastfield.

Whitby Town Council were also encouraged to take part in the consultation, and at their full monthly meeting on Tuesday, Borough Councillor Alf Abbott reported back about the findings.

However, Coun Ian Havelock questioned the validity of the results, and said: “It’s extraordinary to have a 50/50 split, it’s unheard of.

“I would almost suspect it’s abberrant.”

The council received a total of 758 responses to the questionnaire, with 51% of respondents preferring to retain the town hall in its current location.

49% would opt to move the council to Prospect House, with 19% preferring to retain the civic function and Customer First in its current location on St Nicholas Street.

The purchase of Prospect House would cost around £10 million, although £1 million could be saved if the Customer First Centre and civic function were retained in the current location.

An additional £3 million investment has been promised by the Homes and Communities Agency on the condition that the town hall is relocated.

Their proposal is then to redevelop the Town Hall and the Futurist Theatre, creating an area in between that would house new shops and services.

“The talk about the moving of the Town Hall has been kicked about, probably for around seven years,” said Coun Abbott.

“It has been festering for a long time, regarding a lack of revenue.

“My opinion is I prefer to move and keep the civic and Customer First where it is.”

However, if the town hall remains in its current location, the partnership with HCA would be lost and the borough council would instead have to pay £5.8 million in deferred maintenance, to bring the Town Hall up to current standards.

There would be an additional £2.6 million cost when the central government lifts a funding freeze and £2.5 million would also be required to bring the Futurist Theatre up to scratch.

A final decision is set to be made by the full council on 20 July.