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New life for McCain stands

The official Scarborough Borough Council logoTwo football stands at the McCain Stadium which have stood empty since the demise of Scarborough Football Club in 2007 are to get a new lease of life.


Scarborough Borough Council is set to “sell” the East and West stands to Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club Ltd.


As part of the deal, Featherstone Rovers will dismantle and relocate the two stands and in return will carry out the demolition of the McCain at no cost to the council.


Meanwhile, the council is progressing the development of a replacement football facility and the site will be made available as part of a package of land to facilitate an agreement with a developer to build the planned new sport and leisure village in the Weaponness part of the town.


At the heart of the council’s proposals for the new sport and leisure village is the development of a brand new football ground, fit for the highest echelons of lower league football. That is likely to lead to the return of Scarborough Athletic who currently play their home matches in Bridlington.


The decision to demolish the Seamer Road site will not lead to its immediate redevelopment.  While the consent of Sport England has been received to enable the demolition to proceed, planning legislation requires that the council provides an alternative football ground before the Seamer Road site can be redeveloped for any purpose.


This therefore forms part of the sport and leisure village project and it is a council requirement that the successful developer first constructs the football ground and leisure centre before being given the freeholds of the other sites for redevelopment.


The Seamer Road ground is currently derelict and was bought by the borough council in a dilapidated state from the liquidator following the demise of Scarborough Football Club in 2007.


Despite the council going to great lengths to stop people entering the ground, it has been the subject of continued trespass and vandalism and has deteriorated to the point that the risk of serious injury to those illegally accessing the ground was unacceptable and it could no longer be economically brought back into sustainable use.


However, the council always believed there was value in the two relatively newer East and West stands behind the goals that were in good condition.


Due to the ongoing vandalism the council decided to demolish the ground in 2010 and competitive tenders were sought from suitable demolition companies to undertake the works. The tenders received ranged from £45,000 up to £66,000.


Due to the perceived value in the two newer stands, the council also approached the six bidders shortlisted for the sport and leisure village project to ascertain whether it would be feasible to relocate the two existing stands to the new facility for sustainable re-use.


A mixed response was received with some bidders considering the proposal unfeasible, to some considering that certain elements of either the steelwork or pre-cast concrete terracing could be reused.


There was very little consensus between the bidders on the relative merits of re-use or not. However, almost all seemed to be in agreement that to fully appreciate whether there is a cost benefit to reuse the stands, or even whether the stands can be reused at all, further due diligence would be necessary.


In addition to the considerations of demolition or reuse, the council was also in receipt of approaches from various sports clubs who enquired whether the council might sell them the two stands for sustainable re-use as part of their own ground redevelopments. Few of these enquiries came to fruition or resulted in a firm offer for acceptance, and the council was in receipt of only one firm cash offer from a football club.


However, in January 2011 the council was approached by Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club Ltd who made an innovative and attractive offer. Featherstone Rovers proposed to dismantle and relocate the two stands to be reused and re-erected at their ground.  In return for this Featherstone offered to undertake the demolition works that the council requires for nil cost.


It was therefore considered that the offer from Featherstone Rovers RLFC represented best consideration for the council’s asset and was also advantageous in that it will fulfil two council objectives – the sustainable re-use of the existing stands and the demolition of the remaining ground, thus mitigating the health and safety risks associated with its current condition.


The decision to dispose of the stands and set the ball rolling on demolition of the McCain marks an important milestone for sport in the town as it draws to an end the speculation over the future of the former football ground, and brings the exciting development of the Leisure Village a step forward.

Scarborough Borough Council,Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. YO11 2HG
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