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Rethink Futurist Site Plans Say Civic Society Members

Futurist impression
The futuristic site in Yorkshire earmarked for Flamingo Land development.

Published by Matthew Pells at 6:02am 8th April 2019.

Members of Scarborough’s Civic Society along with former town planners have written to the borough council urging a rethink on the future use of the former Futurist Theatre site in the town.

In a letter published in the Civic Society’s latest news letter the group of ‘five local professionals’ say that the site should be ‘remarketed’ so that interested parties could come forward with alternative plans for the site rather than the Flamingo Land resort plans currently under consideration.

Here is their letter in full

The most important architectural decision for the town in the last thirty years.  An alternative approach from five local professionals.

We do not wish to reopen the debate about whether the Futurist should have been demolished. It has gone and we should look to what can now be achieved.

It must be recognised that the town is presented with a rare opportunity to create an outstanding development. We feel it is vital that a wide ranging debate is opened up about how to achieve this. A ‘consultation’ on what has already been proposed to the Council, is not enough.

The development of this site is so important to Scarborough that our professional group, all with long experience of the town, wish to put forward some design principles, which we hope will help by suggesting how a really successful architectural scheme might emerge.

  1. The site faces over the South Bay with stunning views and the promise of many hours of sunlight; it has all the advantages that this offers scenically and climatically. The new development should take full advantage of this, especially in Yorkshire, and offer people the maximum opportunity to enjoy it. You cannot get this in Leeds, York or Doncaster.
  2. When people come to Scarborough or live here, they come to the South Bay for pleasure and relaxation. Consequently the architecture and design should accommodate a lighter and freer feel, encouraging people, through the design, to unwind, forget their cares, be distracted. The design needs to have a light and airy character, and be a contemporary design of the highest quality achievable.  A Ziggurat form is only one possibility, stepping slightly back up the hill at each level.
  3. The Olympia style of development is exactly what should be avoided: an enclosed space, a box, oppressive in design and inward looking. The new Futurist development should be outward looking, full of light, a visual partner to the wonderful bay and the gardens, so people can sit and enjoy it in cafes and restaurants, and when walking past on the promenade or beach.
  4. The design needs to employ a vertical emphasis and characteristics to complement the town and its architecture.  It is essential to avoid a horizontal architectural solution as seen in the Olympia building, Sainsbury’s supermarket as modified, and the Town Hall sixties extension.
  5. Care needs to be taken not to obscure the skyline of the old Town Hall, Royal Hotel, and Grand.
  6. The development should provide attractive accesses to King St and St Nicholas gardens, but it should not encroach on or ‘privatise’ the gardens.

What uses could be expected to fit into these design principles?

It is recognised that Scarborough needs all year round, all weather facilities. It is to be hoped that this outstanding site might attract regionally significant uses.

The opportunity exists, from the first floor and above, for a variety of uses. These might include Cafes, Restaurants, Cinema, flats or apartments, hotel, penthouses.

How to get there?

This is an ambitious design brief for Scarborough to up its game.  To achieve anything like it the Council would have to be persuaded to remarket the site in a really positive way as a great architectural and commercial opportunity. It should also encourage the present interested parties to meet the criteria set out above: this would require considerable modification of their theme park approach, which seems unlikely to be compatible with a successful architectural solution.

From: Gordon Somerville, Christopher Hall, Jonathan Allison, David Green and Scarborough Civic Society President, Mr Adrian Perry.

Gordon Somerville who is a Former Head of Planning at Scarborough Council thinks re-marketing the site would generate fresh ideas.

Gordon Somerville – Rethink Needed00:00 00:19

Gordon also believes that making it would be difficult to make roller-coasters fit in with the surrounding environment.

Gordon Somerville – Double Problem00:00 00:19

Flamingo land released images of how its site on Scarborough’s South Bay may look in February and said that a detailed planning application is currently being worked on.

A preliminary document, known as a screening report, has been submitted to Scarborough Borough Council, outlining the plans for Flamingo Land Coast.

Flamingo Land said a public consultation event will be held in Scarborough in due course to give members of the public chance to give feedback on proposals and ask any questions they may have.

Speaking in February Gordon Gibb, chief executive, said:

“Flamingo Land is very much committed to creating a new, exciting family attraction in Scarborough and we are looking forward to sharing these plans with the public.”

Flamingo Land Coast 3
Flamingo Land Coast 1


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