Legal action threat over woodland

27/08/10 News'John Bradley,Chairman of the Friends of Raincliffe Woods..'103463a
27/08/10 News'John Bradley,Chairman of the Friends of Raincliffe Woods..'103463a

LEGAL action could be taken against Scarborough Council after claims they are not doing enough to protect Raincliffe Woods.

John Bradley, inset, chairman of the Friends of Raincliffe Woods, has lodged a request for assistance with the Environmental Law Foundation.

He says that the council is failing to protect the woodland from “constant vandalism” and incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Mr Bradley says that just a week ago he had to call the police after discovering people unloading generators in the woodland for an all-night party.

He said: “People had ladders up against trees and they were cutting down branches to make camp fires.

“People are always up there lighting fires and leaving litter and mess.

“It’s getting worse with the nights being longer and warmer. It’s also definitely worse than in previous years.”

Mr Bradley also feels that the problems in the woodland have got worse since the council got rid of two full-time park rangers earlier this year due to funding issues.

He says that having spoken to the council on numerous occasions about the problems, he now has no choice but to take legal advice.

Mr Bradley said: “I would not be taking this action if it wasn’t necessary. I think some people believe that if they ignore this problem it will go away, but it’s getting worse.

“The council had a tin-pot idea that volunteers could do the work of the rangers, but most of the problems are at night time.”

Mr Bradley’s request for assistance has now been submitted to the Environmental Law Foundation and a copy has been sent to the council.

The next stage will be an initial consultation where legal experts will decide whether or not Mr Bradley has a case.

He said: “If there is a case we will go with it and not back down. This is the only option left to us and we’ve got nothing to lose.”

Ideally he is hoping that the woodland will be given a protection order, especially as part of it is classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The Evening News asked Scarborough Council if they would like to comment on the issue, but they did not wish to do so at this stage.