A green and connected Scarborough town centre

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Scarborough town centre is to get a green makeover to help with its recovery from Covid-19 when lockdown restrictions are eased.

Dozens of trees are to be planted along Westborough and Newborough.

The idea is to create a more attractive and enjoyable space in the town centre to encourage people to visit when life returns to some kind of normality.

At the same time, new, ‘wayfinding’ signs, including maps and digital kiosks will be installed with work expected to begin this month.

Alongside the physical signage, a new bespoke wayfinding app, with a series of self-guided trails and interactive games, is being developed.

The app is designed to help visitors to the area easily navigate around Scarborough and will showcase its key entertainment venues, attractions and places of interest.

Meanwhile, it’s hoped the birches, grasses and hardy native planting – and new and more seating - will encourage people to enjoy the town centre as a place to be when lockdown rules permit.

The seating will be moveable to support a year-round cultural programme which is in development.

Both the green and connected technology schemes are the latest in a series of joint initiatives to be announced by Scarborough Borough Council, Scarborough Town Centre Team and Scarborough Town Deal Board, paid for by government Town Deal Fast Track funding, which was awarded to the council in December last year.

An artistic makeover of shop windows was the first imitative to be announced earlier this month and other investment – including town centre public WiFi and a nature project will follow in the coming months.

Scarborough is not the only borough town to benefit from the Town Deal scheme. Whitby has also been awarded money and has its own investment plan.

Filey was not invited by government to be part of the Town Deal scheme but work is underway with Filey Town Council to develop an investment plan for the town.

Cllr Liz Colling, Scarborough Borough Council cabinet member with responsibility for inclusive growth, said:

"It’s essential we invest in ways of helping local businesses bounce back strongly as we emerge from the grips of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The improvements we are making are part of our longer term ambitions to further enhance Scarborough’s reputation as a destination to visit, live, work and invest.

"We want to encourage people to come to the town centre, its local shops and attractions, and engage with their surroundings.

"By planting new trees in the middle of Scarborough, providing more seating, signage and digital connectivity we hope to boost footfall and give people a reason to visit."

David Kerfoot, chairman of the Scarborough Town Deal, said:

"By re-imagining the town centre in a flexible way, we can build resilience to economic challenges and move on from negative perceptions to achieve greater footfall and investment.

"It also forges stronger connections from railway station to shore.  

"The idea is a modern, greener high street, embracing the visitor volumes of the harbour and seafront."

Richard Grunwell, chairman of Scarborough Town Centre Team, said: 

"The ‘greening’ of the high street is important to create an inviting place for people to socialise and visit. 

"It's about the quality of life and well-being as well as retail support and creating a mixed-use town centre.

"Combine that with the use of innovative and exciting new technology, we will have a compelling offer for residents and visitors."