Created By: Scarborough Civic Society
Opposition to the proposed Marine Drive had a number of causes. Some did not want to see the castle cliffs reshaped, something that was necessary to reduce the risk of boulders falling on to the new promenade and road. Others were afraid that the project would lead to damage to the harbour.
Cost was, however, the principal stumbling block. It was thought that the likely expenditure would be about £70,000 and many felt that the town could not afford this, especially as the approach road to Marine Drive from Foreshore Road would mean additional costs. This is why it was necessary to have a vote of the ratepayers before the scheme could go ahead. When this took place in October 1894, there was a large majority for the scheme: 3,539 voting in favour with 2,327 against. Would so many have voted in favour if the final cost had been known? The actual cost of the scheme was much greater than originally anticipated because the difficulties and delays meant extra expense. Over £120,000 was spent in total – many millions of pounds in today's money.
Tolls were to be used to recoup at least some of the money and as a result toll houses were built at both ends of Marine Drive and toll collectors appointed to collect the charges from those using the facility. In the first year tolls amounted to nearly £1,900. They were supplemented by charges for attending the various entertainments that were staged on Marine Drive. Tolls for pedestrians ended in 1943, but those for vehicles lasted a few years longer, finally being abolished in 1950. The north toll house and kiosk survived until after the ending of tolls, but were demolished in 1953 because they had fallen into disrepair. The south toll house still exists.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Scarborough Marine Drive the history