New project set to launch in Raincliffe Wood

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A new project is getting under way in Raincliffe Woods following months of controversy about thinning work in the woodland.

Work to regenerate the woodland is being carried out by the Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise and The Woodland Trust.

However, as this has involved the removal of tonnes of timber, it has come up against criticism by members of the community – with many taking to Facebook to protest against the project.

But now, members of the Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise wish to reassure people that they are working in the best interests of everyone and are launching a new project called “Wild about the Woods”.

The group has secured funding from the People’s Health Trust (The Health Lottery) to work with local residents to explore and enjoy the woodlands.

In addition to the People’s Health Trust funding, the project is being supported by Barrowcliff Big Local, Awards for All (The Big Lottery) and funds from Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise generated through the recent woodland restoration work.

Tom Mutton, a director of the community enterprise, said: “It is very exciting to now be starting the project after much hard work behind the scenes securing funding and support from a variety of organisations.

“The project is an important part of our vision for the woods and I’m looking forward to a year full of events and activities for local people.”

The group has taken on Will Watts, who worked for Scarborough Museums Trust before setting up his own company Hidden Horizons, as a part-time project officer.

He said: “I am delighted to be able to work with the enterprise and local communities to really engage people with this fantastic space on our doorstep.

“The woods are a special place and we want to maintain that feeling in all that we do.

“Whilst the funding is primarily in place for work with Northstead and Barrowcliff Communities I am sure many others will benefit, and this project will provide a taster for what the community enterprise can bring to all Scarborough residents.”

However, former community enterprise member John Bradley has raised concerns about the project being focused on Barrowcliff and Northstead instead of the wider community.

He said: “For me that is morally wrong. It is putting communities against communities - and that is wrong for the board to do that. All the communities of the town should benefit.”

Mr Bradley said this is one of the reasons he left the group, among other major concerns about the level of felling and disruption.