'The stars have aligned for us': Scarborough Council starts to decide how to spend its £37m Towns Fund cash

Work is set to begin on deciding how to spend a £37.3 million windfall that Scarborough Council recently secured from the Government.

As part of the Government’s Towns Fund announcement in the Budget on March 3, Scarborough was awarded £20.2 million and Whitby secured £17.1 million to boost their economic growth.

Scarborough Council’s cabinet today approved the acceptance of the money and kicked-off an eight-week process of working up the business cases for the projects.

Nine projects for each town, which aim to improve and bring new opportunities for skills and enterprise, cultural activities, the environment, connectivity, well-being and sustainability, were proposed as part of the funding bids.

Scarborough was awarded £20.2 million from the Towns Fund.

Council leader Cllr Steve Siddons said the money would be a “catalyst” for further investment in the borough.

He said: “It is part of a whole package coming from lots of different sources and the stars have aligned in a sense, thankfully for us and I know we’ve all had a very difficult year with Covid but I think the future is looking very bright.

“I think that the positive things that will come out of this over the next few years, for all parts of our borough, can’t be underestimated.”

The council has 12 months to get the projects it intends to take forward fully agreed and has until 2025 to spend the funds.

Whitby secured £17.1 million to boost economic growth.

Cllr Liz Colling, the cabinet member for Inclusive Growth, said the funding was “excellent news” and paid tribute to the hard work of council officers and the Town Deal Boards which put together the proposed projects.

The authority’s chief executive, Mike Greene, said the borough was “at the vanguard of some significant changes” and the Town Fund would be the blueprint for investment in Scarborough and Whitby for the next decade.

The decision on which projects to take forward will be made by May 19.

The proposed Scarborough projects are:

Cycling and walking infrastructure: between the town centre and Eastfield, coastal routes from Cayton and around north and south bays

Scarborough Harbour: regeneration of the harbour and West Pier public spaces, with leisure, hospitality, creative industries and support for the fishing industry

Town centre FabLab+: skills training centre for robotics, 3D modelling and printing, sound engineering

Scarborough Fayre: year-round programme of events and cultural regeneration, with an annual spectacular

Woodend Plus: a vibrant town centre media space, including museum attractions with wayfinding to Woodend Creative Workspace

Scarborough Cricket Ground: improvements to help secure the future of first class cricket at the venue

Station Gateway: improvements to the area outside and around Scarborough Railway Station for a more attractive setting with green transport options

Green Construction: green construction techniques at the Construction Skills Village

Scarborough Wild Eye: a wildlife and nature trail.

The proposed Whitby projects are:

Maritime Skills Academy: training and certification for maritime, offshore and renewable energy sectors and building upon the diversification of the fishery industry training school

Eastside and Calla Beck Well-Being Centre: expanding the Eastside Community Centre and improving the green spaces at Eastside Park and Calla Beck

Pannett Art Gallery Extension: expansion to host new displays, galleries, education and hospitality spaces and national collections. An art trail connecting the gallery to the town centre

Old Town Hall and Market Place: renovation, investment in market infrastructure and potential new uses to support commercial and tourism activity

Innovation Hub: a digital space for entrepreneurs and learning opportunities within Flowergate Chapel, the origins of which date back to the 13th century

Broomfields Farm Carbon Neutral Village: delivering 60 homes in the first zero carbon, community custom-build housing scheme in Yorkshire

Wi-Fi Zone and Wayfinding: free wi-fi access in Whitby’s harbour area and main routes up to Whitby Abbey and West Cliff, and physical and digital signposting

Harbourside Public Realm: creation of a pedestrianised route along New Quay Road, across Whitby Swing Bridge and to Bridge Street and Grape Lane, plus environmental improvements in the area

Whitby Wild Eye: a wildlife and nature trail.