York & North Yorkshire

Scarborough Futurist Theatre demolition plans approved amid angry protest

Protesters marching while holding banners up
Image caption More than a hundred people marched through Scarborough's town centre ahead of the meeting on Monday afternoon

Plans to demolish a 1920s theatre have been approved by councillors amid an angry protest by more than 100 campaigners.

Scarborough Borough councillors voted 22 to 21 in favour of spending £4m to knock down the Futurist.

Campaigners marched through the town ahead of the meeting on Monday, which saw one heckling protester removed from the balcony.

They wanted a "stay of execution" to formulate a business plan.

But the Conservative-run council's cabinet had previously judged the Futurist, which closed in 2014, to be unsustainable as a theatrical venue.

It will now go ahead with plans to clear the site and stabilise a cliff behind the theatre to allow the land to be made available for redevelopment.

Image caption There were 22 votes for the demolition of Futurist, 21 against and one abstention

During the meeting, councillors Eric Broadbent, Labour, and Norman Murphy, UKIP, called for the decision to be deferred and "not rushed".

Mr Murphy said: "The building is unique, why would anyone want to get rid of that?

"There is no need to rush this decision. If you do I suspect you'll regret it forever."

But independent councillor Bill Chatt said: "I've been in the theatre and there's only been nine people [watching a show].

"I don't know how many seats were sold in the last three years of its operation."

Flamingo Land, which is a large visitor attraction in Malton, North Yorkshire, has already expressed interest in developing a new year-round tourist attraction on the site.

Campaigner Patricia David said she was very "angry" and had not "given up" on the fight to save the Futurist.

She said: "We've got to go back and regroup and have a think about what we're going to do and how we're going to do it."

Image caption If demolition is not approved then the building will remain closed with only basic repairs

Scarborough's Futurist Theatre

  • The Futurist was built on the site of the Arcadia Theatre and operated until January 2014
  • It opened in 1921 and screened its first film, which featured a musical violin interlude, in 1927
  • Acts to have appeared at the 2,000-seat venue over the years include The Beatles, Shirley Bassey and Ken Dodd

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