Scarborough Town Action Group (S.T.A.G.) who have been leading the Campaign to Save The Futurist reported ; "Futurist Theatre. Tuesday 21st October. What a day this has been, starting at 9.00 a.m. with a phone call from our spy in the enemy camp telling us that an announcement would be made as to who the bidder is for the site followed by a Press Briefing. Flamingo Land.!! However who it is is irrelevant, it is what they are demanding and wanting to do that is important. However, on behalf of all the people who want to keep and restore the building, we had already sent a dossier to the Secretary of State, outlining the miserable history of our Council's actions over the last decade in relation to the whole Campaign. We said that all else had failed and asked if he had some power to put a hold on the proceedings whilst his Ministry investigated our request and our concerns. We were therefore able to put out our own Press Release about this at the same time as the Council's own Press Release and this was picked up immediately by the media. We hope this took a bit of wind out of their sails! Until 9.00 a.m. the Councillors were not aware as to who the bidder is and were told after the Cabinet Meeting at 11.30 a.m.when the Press were also briefed. It has not yet been agreed by a vote in Full Cabinet - the next meeting being 3rd November. They seem to be bending a lot of rules here one way and another. The stock answer to questions posed by the public is "It is all in the Constitution, and you can see it on our Website"! Fortunately for us we have amongst us wizards at finding out all sorts of things on their Website, and we are all keeping the people informed. In the meantime we are shouting very loudly that a commercial enterprise expects the people of Scarborough to pay for clearing and restabilising the site so they can make money out of their new 'exciting'(?) attraction. The Secretary of State is currently issuing a lot of directives to Councils about keeping the Community involved in developments and making sure they are being listened to. So let's hope we are in with a chance."
This was aligned with a statement forced out of the Council by the pressure group along with locals voicing concerns over the legalities and lack of transparency over the recent acceptance by SBC's Cabinet officers to accept Bidder 'B's tender for the development, that inlcuded the demolition of the Theatre.
http://www.scarborough.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=17851 "Scarborough Borough Council has announced that the proposed bidder for the redevelopment of the site of the Futurist theatre in Scarborough is Flamingo Land, the hugely successful theme park near Malton, North Yorkshire. Flamingo Land is partnering with established Leeds based property and construction company, GMI Estates, to progress the project. Details of Flamingo Land’s concepts were first released last month in a report to the council’s Cabinet, which set out that the development would be a premium visitor attraction showcasing and displaying three distinct environments consisting of ‘subterranean, on the coastline and sky’. Key elements of the attraction would include: iconic glass roofed botanical gardens, a high octane, adrenaline fuelled roller coaster, a 55 metre iconic lighthouse structure and Space Shot Tower, which propels customers 55 metres into the sky, an elevated sea view bar, restaurant and function space, a walk through aviary and a new town square for Scarborough.
Following the publication of the report, there was some public concern about the credibility of bidder B and its ability to deliver a first class visitor attraction worthy of the prominent seafront site. Therefore to quash any detrimental rumours and to help raise public confidence in the council’s decision to undertake due diligence on the proposals and progress negotiations with bidder B, Flamingo Land agreed to its identity and illustrations of its concept drawings being released today.
Flamingo Land, previously only known publicly as ‘Bidder B’, is the largest visitor attraction in Yorkshire, which attracts more than 1.5 million visitors annually. It now has its eyes set firmly on developing a similar success story on the Yorkshire coast, with the working title ‘Flamingo Land Coast’."
Gordon Gibb recently (Jun 14) put up for sale his Country Estate valued at £ 4.3mil. Gibb who took over the running of Flamingo Land in the 1990's following the death of his father in a car crash, was also Chairman of Bradford City Footclub until he resigned in 2004. (Flamingo Land still own Bradford City Club site as part of its pensions investment portfolio. (of an aside Bradford City FC former Chair was Geoffrey Richmond).
In 2012 Gordon Gibb, a former boxer was charged with assault on a ticket tout outside his Flamingo Land park. However his companies include and other sports interests include the sponsorship of Leeds United Academy 2011/12, http://www.flamingoland.co.uk/news/212-leeds-united-announce-flamingo-la...
Gibb recently changed the downturn of Flamingo Lands operating profits into an upturn providing payable dividends for himself and Vicky Gibb. The former partnership between Flamingo Land and Pleasure Island at Cleethorpes dissolved when Maureen Gibb took over the Cleethorpes Leisure Park independently. Clearly there is no doubt about the business credentials and liquidity of the Council's preferred bidder. B.
Meanwhile, Scarborough News reported the confirmation of 'Bidder B's' identity and comments from the usual suspects (UKIP) have made an attempt to bring controversy to the 'tender' process by linking in a donation made by Gibb to the local Conservative Party of £ 50,000. Given the Chair of the Conservative Party is none other than Derek Bastiman who has led the Futurist & King Street development agenda for some time, perhaps 'they', are indeed right to question the integrity of the Council's decision making process. Meanwhile on local radio YCR 96.2fm the leader of the Save the Futurist Campaign , Patricia David has vowed to fight on, to overturn the Cabinet's decision and prevent the Futurist from being demolished. Indeed Janet Jefferson (on YCR) revealed some inkling plans of the Save the Futurist Campaigners forming a Company to restore the Futurist into a viable and sustainable Theatre. Inklings only mind.
Several demolition firms surveyed the building last Thursday and a few more on Monday. The tendering process for the demolition is to close on 24th October. Meanwhile none of the business's forming part of the Futurist development have been given notice to quit.
Of peculiar interest is that the design layout at first glance looks remarkably like a Water Park. A Water Park development has been proposed, approved and licensed for the North Side of Town under another controversial Council development aka Benchmark & The Sands, with Roland Duce at the helm and Alpamare as the operators. With the Council committed to £ 6 mil investment into Duce's Water Park, will any conflict of interest arise between the Council's two big development contenders Gibb and Duce? The SN did report after the Licensing Application that Duce would be starting the construction of the Water Park more or less straight away. However commencement and construction of Roland Duce's Water Park has now been pencilled in for February 2015.
Further the Council's third biggest adventure into development, the proposed Sports Village to include both swimming and football facilities is still under negotiation and subject to 'commercial sensitivity' . So as usual, questions about SBC's development strategy remain to be asked.
Meanwhile we have asked the Council's Section 151 Officer if the cost of demolishing the Futurist and clearing the site ready for development will be reimbursed to the Council, under contractual agreement, should the proposed development or 'tender' by Gibb & Flamingo Land not be carried out or completed. As the Council's statement reads: " “It is important to stress however that the plans are very much in their infancy and there are many, many months of negotiations and formal processes to go through before construction can be guaranteed. What we do already have though is a very strong commitment and dedication from Flamingo Land’s team to work in partnership with us and GMI to progress this important project for the borough.”
However, the demolition of the Futurist is pencilled in for when? And who or what was Plan 'A'?