A Letter to the Editor from COLIN RELPH, a prospective candidate for the forthcoming Scarborough Borough Council elections in May, criticising the Council’s intentions regarding Dean Road Depot and the Manor Road Nurseries, in the light of the Futurist fiasco, Alpamare and a host of other incomprehensible decisions. Read on . . .
The news that Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) has decided, in its wisdom, to sell off the Borough’s plant nursery, which has operated successfully from its Manor Road site for many years, looks to me to be yet another dubious Council decision.
My suspicion is that not only will this move cost us money, it could also have serious consequences for the residents of the area. The Council say that they will be able to buy in plants and save us all money. To achieve this saving, however, they first have to spend £100,000 of our money on moving the operation to Dean Road.
This move seems to me to be another Council cooked-up recipe for disaster. Will the plants arrive on time? Will they be of the required quality? Will the savings they claim we will make, ever be achieved? Knowing the Council, the answer to all these questions is probably no.
My gut feeling is that this move will end in disaster with our parks and gardens suffering from the late arrival of plants which, if they do arrive at all, will not be as good as our own home grown plants and that, rather than saving us money, the new system will almost certainly cost us more money.
However, bad as this will be, it is, perhaps, what comes next for the site of the Nurseries that worries me most. The Council say they have approved the sale of the Manor Road Nursery site to an unnamed bidder. Why is the bidder unnamed? Could it be that the bidder remains unnamed because it is a housing association and the nursery site is going to have high-density social housing built on it? Now, and don’t get me wrong, the provision of good quality housing at affordable rents is, I think, a good thing. But I would question whether the nursery site is the right place for such a development.
And what of the historic bowling green next door? Although the Town Hall have said this will not be included in the sale. Can we trust them? As we all know, the Council is strapped for cash and the huge amount of borrowing they have made recently to fund loans to private companies, which look increasingly like they will never be paid back, might well tempt them to sell the bowling green as well.
The move of the Manor Road Nurseries, and the buying in of plants, and the sale of the land to an unknown bidder will, of course, seem like good ideas to our money-obsessed Council. However, the consequences of this move will, in my view, almost certainly, in a truly horrendous way, impact the lives of not only the residents of Falsgrave and Stepney but also the residents of the whole of Scarborough and, of course, our visitors who currently enjoy the beauty of our parks and gardens.
Just like the Floral Hall, the Futurist Theatre and many more of our historic and much loved assets, it looks like Manor Road nurseries, and anything else the Council thinks it can get away with, will soon be ground into dust for short term profit.
Colin RELPH, Scarborough. 25th January 2019.