Mr Meckiffe, who is also a personal fitness trainer, has expressed his dismay at the fact that so little is being done with the building. “It costs more to maintain this way than if they got the place running properly. You’ve got a building here that looks derelict half the time. One visitor thought it was a water treatment works. At no point in its history have all the shutters been up and the building fully open.”
Mr Meckiffe chairs the Saltburn Foreshore Committee. The committee want the council to open the building, improve seafront maintenance and put some effort into development of the foreshore. As part of this remit Mr Meckiffe has contacted the Audit Commission over the lack of progress - a constant complaint since the building, originally costing £570,000, was mooted by the now defunct Saltburn Improvement Company in the late 1990s. Construction work was completed in 2002 but since then, funding and legal wrangles and even a water leak from the adjacent hillside have hampered progress.
The council’s Cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, Councillor Sheelagh Clarke, sympathised but said the authority was “doing all within its power to progress the situation so businesses within the building can thrive commercially”.
She explained the proposed restaurant was originally given a domestic gas supply “inadequate for the purpose of opening a restaurant”. British Gas is now due to fit the correct supply on October 20. The restaurant operator is also seeking planning permission to alter the unit’s façade.
She said the building would be cleaned and painted during the first week in October - work which will hopefully help secure a commercial operator for the currently vacant third commercial unit.