Thursday 20th June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

SBC: The Great Asbestos Scare – Mystery Deepens

SBC: The Great Asbestos Scare – Mystery Deepens

  • an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, reporting on the mystery surrounding reports of life-endangering asbestos fibres contaminating The Futurist Theatre.


When Yorkshire Coast Radio published, on 3rd March 2017, an article entitled “Asbestos Found in Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre”, few readers doubted that YCR must have been referring to recent discoveries made by contractors RILMAC of Lincoln.

  • “Warning people not to enter the building due to this danger.”

The report followed persistent rumours – and credible reports directly to me from Borough Councillors – that asbestos had been located and removed in an unsafe and slipshod manner. This prompted me to write to RILMAC, and the Press Statement reproduced below was issued in direct response to my enquiry.

That YCR UPDATE (timed, by the way, at 11:33am on Monday 13th March 2017) appeared about an hour after the North Yorks Enquirer published the following Press Statement from RILMAC. (Indeed, it was I who passed the RILMAC Press Statement along to YCR):

That same day, the Enquirer asked Portfolio Holder Councillor Mike COCKERILL [Ind.] to disclose who it was who provided him with the information that gave rise to the YCR headline – “Asbestos Found in Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre”.

Unsurprisingly, no response has yet been received.

Yesterday (Tuesday 14th March 2017), I spoke at some length with RILMAC’s Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator Mr Peter BATCHELOR, who was extremely helpful and open about his company’s involvement.

He was able to assure me that the work carried out successfully by RILMAC operatives had no connection whatsoever with the detection or removal of asbestos and could therefore not have given grounds for the YCR story – or the rumours mentioned above.

He was unable to assist me in identifying who it was who had placed the warning signs in the entrance to The Futurist Theatre (see featured image above this article) or on what basis it was deemed advisable for SBC Officers, or for Councillor Mike COCKERILL [Ind.], to issue information to YCR such as would justify the great asbestos scare or the warning sign.

In the absence of a definitive statement from Councillor Mike COCKERILL [Ind.], or from Officers of Scarborough Borough Council, we are left to speculate on the probability that the great asbestos scare was a figment of the Portfolio Holder’s imagination, conjured up, perhaps, to bolster the SBC determination that The Futurist Theatre would never again be suitable as a public venue.

Former attendees of shows at The Futurist Theatre now suffering from asbestos related symptoms may be well-advised to seek their own medical and legal advice – just in case Councillor Mike COCKERILL [Ind.] was telling the truth.

That The Futurist Theatre does contain asbestos is, given its age, almost certain. However, there would appear to be no greater risk now that the theatre is empty than there was during its entire working life, when thousands (myself included) enjoyed some terrific shows there – with no discernible health consequences.


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