York & North Yorkshire

Fear Scarborough Futurist Theatre demolition will risk homes

The Futurist theatre is at the bottom of Olympia Gardens and Bland's Cliff, with Scarborough Council offices at the top on King Street Image copyright Google
Image caption The Futurist theatre is at the bottom of Olympia Gardens and Bland's Cliff, with Scarborough Council offices at the top in King Street

People living above a seaside theatre earmarked for demolition say they fear removing it will destabilise the cliff it is on - and their homes.

Scarborough Borough Council voted this month to demolish the Futurist Theatre and redevelop the land.

Geologists say the coastline has "stability problems".

The council said demolition would not start until it was satisfied it could be done without destabilising the cliff or surrounding area.

Read more about this and other stories from across North Yorkshire

Dr Bill Murphy, University of Leeds engineer geologist, said the coastline had "stability problems" with soft rocks at the surface deposited by glacial tills 1800 years ago.

"There is abundant evidence of slope instability all along the coast from Whitby to Holderness," he said.

"The council has stated explicitly they will have to carry out stability analysis.

"But Scarborough has experience of landslides, their engineers and contractors should know what they're dealing with so [residents] should be comforted that there's a lot experience there.

"Nevertheless, stability issues are present."

Image copyright Christopher Hall
Image caption Theme park Flamingo Land has expressed an interest in developing a year-round tourist attraction on the Futurist site, with an indoor rollercoaster and botanical gardens

Roger Pickstock, who retired to new flats above the Futurist with his wife Elaine, said they had moved "to what we thought was our dream home but we're worried it'll turn into a nightmare".

Mrs Pickstock said: "We've not had any consultation at all with what they've done up to now or what they plan to do in the future."

The Futurist closed in 2014, after being deemed unsustainable as a theatrical venue.

Theme park Flamingo Land has expressed an interest in developing a year-round tourist attraction on the Futurist site, with an indoor rollercoaster and botanical gardens.

Image caption Protesters marched through the town earlier this month when councillors voted to demolish the venue

Mick Rivers, who has lived in Prospect Place for 30 years, said: "I would've felt better if someone [from the council] had come and talked to people but they haven't.

"When they did exploratory work, the hammering and banging made our windows vibrate and I had to ask them to stop.

"So when they start piling the whole area, if that destroys Bland's Cliff, Prospect Place... They're certainly not saying anything to us which will allay our fears."

Council leader Derek Bastiman was approached for comment but declined to speak to the BBC.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites