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Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre faces demolition after appeals failure

The interior of Scarborough's Futurist Theatre The interior of Scarborough's Futurist Theatre
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Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre looks set to be demolished after a third appeal to make the venue a listed building was rejected.

The theatre’s former operator Barrie Stead has claimed the theatre’s absence from the coastline would leave Scarborough “like Blackpool without a tower”.

Theme park brand Flamingo Land was revealed to be bidding for the site in 2014, with plans to demolish the theatre and build a new complex, including a glass-roofed botanical garden and a rollercoaster.

Last year, a study called into question the viability of demolishing the council-owned theatre, as parts of the building helped support the cliff behind it.

Despite this, a third appeal by campaign group Save the Futurist to make the theatre a grade II-listed building has been rejected by Historic England.

Historic England said it was not listing the venue because it “does not demonstrate the level of architectural ambition which was being applied to other cinemas in the 1920s”.

Stead told The Stage: “It’s now run out of time, it’s run out of appeals for listing and that’s basically, as I see it, the end of 90 years of entertainment. And it’s a shame because it’s quite unique to have a 2,000-seat theatre, it was the biggest theatre in the North Yorkshire region.”

Scarborough Borough Council boarded up the theatre in 2014 because it could not find a new operator.

Stead said he understood that the council could not afford to refurbish the building, and revealed he could not see the theatre being saved “unless somebody came forward with sufficient funds”.

“I can understand the council’s position, because so many councils have had cutbacks,” he said.

Save the Futurist campaign head Patricia David said those who supported the theatre were “truly devastated” by the final outcome of the appeal.

Criticising the plan to demolish the theatre and build a theme park, she added: “The people of Scarborough are absolutely horrified and are campaigning against this. We want the Futurist Theatre keeping, renovating and regenerating together with the adjoining land to create a creative arts complex and Maritime Museum.”

Scarborough Borough Council declined to comment.

The story was updated on January 12 to include a response by the Save the Futurist group.

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