Go ahead given for multi-million pound redevelopment of Scarborough town centre site

Councillors have recommended a multi-million pound Scarborough town centre development goes ahead.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 2:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th June 2020, 2:22 pm
Argos site redevelopment gets a thumbs up

Members of Scarborough Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny board had been asked to consider postponing plans to demolish the former Argos building in Newborough and create 200 flats for students and NHS staff.

Concerns had been raised that the coronavirus pandemic could impact on the financial viability of the scheme.

Councillor David Jeffels said: “There are currently too many uncertainties to warrant the Argos site scheme as envisaged by council last summer going ahead for the foreseeable future.”

A motion to recommend the plans be put on hold was defeated by the casting vote of the committee’s chairman Councillor Guy Coulson.

He said the development was a “kick-starter” for the regeneration for that part of the town and may attract funding for other parts of the borough.

“These are difficult times but I think it’s worth the council looking to the future,” he said.

The committee’s recommendation will be made to the council’s cabinet, who will be asked to make a decision on moving forward with the scheme.

The council revealed last year it was to partner with developer Wrenbridge to demolish the former Argos building in Newborough and replace it 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 well as the accommodation, there are plans for a market square at St Helen's Square, next to the former Argos site.

The plans were approved by the authority’s cabinet in July despite some concerns from councillors about the authority borrowing £22 million to make a net return of approximately £1 million.

Cabinet portfolio holder and deputy leader of Scarborough Council Liz Colling said: “One of conditions of Coventry University signing a lease to pay rent - which will cover the cost of the money the council intends to borrow for the project - is that they an be assured that they will have students there by 2023.”

She said the project has also been identified as key for securing £10m of Government regeneration funding.

“Post Covid-19, if the council doesn’t show it has belief in Scarborough by investing in it, then nobody will,” she said.