It has long been suspected that Scarborough Borough Council had a policy of the wilful neglect of public buildings, resulting in them being left in an appalling condition, thus building the financial case for their future disposal to their favoured developers. You will all have seen the neglect of facilities such as the old Open Air Theatre, the Futurist, the Atlantis Water Park, the North Bay chalets, the Corner Café, the Filey Road Sports Centre, the Athletic Ground, the Mere, Peasholm Park, the South Bay Outdoor Pool, the Whitby Piers, and the current bone of contention, the Town Hall on St. Nicholas Street.
A move away from St. Nicholas Street was mooted nearly a decade ago, but at that time Scarborough Borough Council had just spent £3 million pounds on refurbishing the York House annex on St. Nicholas Street, making it fit for purpose, so it was impossible to justify a move to new premises for a number of years. It was at this time the policy of the willful neglect of the Town Hall and Futurist was enacted so they could build the case for future disposal.
You’re probably laughing and calling me a conspiracy theorist right now. It is indeed a bold to suggest that Council Officers and elected members have colluded to wittingly neglect maintenance on public buildings to build the disposal case.
At a recent Whitby Town Council meeting, Scarborough Borough Councillor Alf Abbott addressed the Town Council during the Public Participation session regarding the Town Hall & Futurist Consultation. Abbott informed them that the origins of the plan to dispose of the Town Hall go back ‘seven or eight years’. When asked for his source of that information Abbott responded ‘although he was not an SBC Cllr. at that time, the information came from dialogues with former SBC Cllr. Rob Broadley’. Abbott goes on to say that ‘Rob Broadley disclosed the plan to dispose of the Town Hall and the decision was to wittingly neglect the maintenance of the Town Hall to build the case for disposal’.
Having searched the Scarborough Borough Council web site I can’t find a Building Maintenance Policy for either the Town Hall accommodation nor the Futurist Theatre building. I wonder if such a document is restricted so the general public will never find out about this policy? Perhaps such a document doesn’t exist and the policy of willful neglect has been carried out behind closed doors? Someone obviously forgot to tell Councillor Abbott! Time to ask some more questions.
Article first posted to Real Whitby on July 5 2012.