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Last-ditch attempt fails to save Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre from demolition

The interior of Scarborough's Futurist Theatre The interior of Scarborough's Futurist Theatre
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The long-running campaign to save Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre has failed, after Scarborough Borough Council announced that the demolition of the theatre was to go ahead as planned.

Councillors voted in favour of demolishing the venue at a specially convened planning meeting last month, but the decision was referred to the Department of Communities and Local Government in the hope that it would be reconsidered.

Campaigners responded with shock at the decision, calling it “heartbreaking” for the North Yorkshire town.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has the power to ‘call in’ planning decisions by local authorities, which would mean the decision would be subject to a public enquiry.

However, a letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government to Scarborough Borough Council stated that Javid would not be calling in the decision.

The letter also said: “The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.”

The local authority will now proceed with demolition, a process that is expected to take 13 months.

Council leader Derek Bastiman welcomed the government’s decision, saying it would allow the council to “kick-start a bright new future for this prominent site in Scarborough South Bay”.

However, the decision was met with anger and disappointment by campaigners who believe the building can be restored.

In a statement, the Theatres Trust expressed regret that the demolition would proceed, and added: “This prominent seafront theatre played a key part in the history and culture of Scarborough. It is a sad occurrence when a council decides to demolish its valuable buildings.

“In this case, the demolition of a historic theatre for an empty site with no future plans secured or approved and at a considerable cost is particularly frustrating.

“The members of the local community who campaigned valiantly to save the Futurist will be rightly disappointed as future generations of Scarborough residents will be denied this much-loved theatre.”

Writing on the Save the Futurist campaign’s Facebook page, supporters of the theatre expressed their shock and anger at the decision. One campaigner called the decision “beyond stupid”, while another said it was “heartbreaking”.

The demolition is expected to cost the council £3.91 million.

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