A 400-SIGNATURE petition in support of keeping Scarborough’s park rangers has been handed in at the Town Hall.
The petition was organised by Friends of Raincliffe Woods chairman John Bradley in conjunction with the Evening News.
It was brought about following suggestions by the council that the two full-time rangers’ jobs could be done by volunteers instead.
Mr Bradley said he was very pleased with the amount of signatures and wished to thank everyone who had taken part for their support.
He said: “I hope the council will now go forward and consider this properly and look at what we have to lose if the rangers do go.
“Only this week there was an all-night party going on in the woodland and four trees got vandalised.
“It’s quite a regular thing that goes on all the time, night and day.”
Mr Bradley said that without the rangers he believes that problems with fly tipping, anti-social behaviour and vandalism in beauty spots and open spaces will increase.
He said: “I believe that those people making the decisions don’t understand the scale of the work the park rangers do.
“Their presence itself is a deterrent and we feel that if the council gets rid of them, they will only realise that when it’s too late.”
Mr Bradley said he also believes that the saving made by removing the two park ranger posts will not save money in the long run, as the expense of dealing with a higher number of incidents will be significant.
The petition was formally accepted by Cllr Janet Jefferson, cabinet member for tourism and culture, as the parks service comes under her portfolio.
She said: “As a member of Scarborough in Bloom I work very closely with the parks department and know about the valid work that the park rangers do.
“I will endeavour to do my best to bring a successful outcome.”
Cllr Jefferson said that the situation had come about due to financial pressures as the council budget has been cut by central Government by £2.5 million for 2010/11. The matter will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on February 15.