Proposal to operate event and hospitality venues


Monday, 12 October 2020

Scarborough Borough Council will decide whether to transfer the operation of four event and hospitality venues in Scarborough and Whitby back to the authority next week.

Scarborough Spa and Spa Cliff Lift, Whitby Pavilion and Peasholm Park cafe are owned by the council but operated, under lease, by Sheffield International Venues Limited (SIV). The contracts are currently set to expire in September 2022.

SIV has previously announced the financial constraints it is operating under. These have been exacerbated by the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly on large event venues, which has meant they have been unable to find a way to open any of the Scarborough and Whitby venues safely.

Given the significant issues SIV is experiencing, Sheffield City Council, which provides financial support to SIV, is asking the company to focus its operations in the Sheffield area and evaluate its other contracts.

SIV has therefore advised Scarborough Borough Council it is no longer able to operate the Scarborough and Whitby venues and has asked the contracts to be terminated early.

In a report to the council’s Cabinet meeting on 20 October, councillors will be asked to approve the termination of the contracts and the transfer of the venues’ operation back to the council, which would come into effect by January 2021.

The recommendations also include the TUPE transfer of the remaining eleven staff members SIV employs to the council and exploring the possibility of engaging with specialist consultants to define a long-term strategic vision for Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion.

If Cabinet agrees to the recommendations in the report, council officers will look to prioritise the reopening of Farrer’s Bar at Scarborough Spa, Whitby Pavilion Café and Whitby Pavilion Cinema by the end of March 2021. This would be subject to making the venues Covid-19 secure and government regulations and guidance in relation to the ongoing pandemic.

Detailed short and medium term plans for operating the venues would be developed, which would include the importance of Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion to the future economic and cultural regeneration of the borough. A marketing strategy and the possibility of working with external partners to programme some events would also feature in the plans.

Cllr Janet Jefferson, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said:

"I welcome this comprehensive report, which sets how we could secure the future of these much loved venues by taking them back in house.

"Cabinet will consider the recommendations in respect of the pivotal role the venues need to play in the future success of our local economy and their strong cultural value to many generations of residents and visitors.

"The importance of Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion in particular, will be at the forefront of members’ minds when reaching a decision."

Andrew Snelling, Chief Executive, Sheffield City Trust, said:

"The on-going restrictions means that these two venues are unable to open as usual for the foreseeable future. As with many other venues, the financial impact is significant. This is a great shame for these much-loved venues.  

"We will continue to work closely with Scarborough Borough Council to ensure the sustainable future of Whitby Pavilion and Scarborough Spa."

The full report can be viewed by refering to agenda item 10 on our Cabinet page.