Forge Valley Boardwalk funding bid refused

A funding bid to rejuvenate and popularise a Scarborough nature area has been refused.

Monday, 8th June 2020, 12:30 pm
Doing repairs on the Forge Valley Boardwalk

The application would have seen the wooden boardwalk at Forge Valley National Nature Reserve replaced with recycled plastic that has a 40 to 50 year life expectancy.

The bid - submitted by Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise - also included a new footbridge across the River Derwent, improvements to the existing car parks and protection to a sensitive area of woodland.

Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise is a community interest company with support from North York Moors National Park Authority, Scarborough Borough Council and North York Moors National Park Trust.

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Robert Peacock, Director, Raincliffe Woods Community Interest Company, said: “The outcome is a huge disappointment given all the time and energy given by so many to the project.

“We have been informed the application was unsuccessful due to the limited number of new visitors the scheme would attract relative to the expenditure.

“We can understand this reasoning to a certain extent but the improvements to the boardwalk are key to the Forge Valley attracting more visitors.”

If successful, the grant would have secured cash from the Government’s RDPE Growth Programme, which grants funding for projects which create jobs and growth in the rural economy such as tourism.

Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise’s bid focused on accessibility tourism and how the revamped boardwalk would meet the needs of wheelchairs users in particular.

It said the installation of a new footbridge would also open up numerous circular walks in and around Forge Valley and Raincliffe Woods.

Robert Sword, Chair of Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise, expressed his disappointment that this decision had been made after a two-year application process and lengthy negotiations with the Rural Payments Agency to ensure the application complied with all the conditions.

In a joint statement North York Moors National Park Authority and Scarborough Borough council, said: “This is a project that we strongly support as it will bring a wide range of benefits to users of all abilities and allow more people to access a National Nature Reserve alongside the beautiful River Derwent.

“The existing boardwalk is over 20 years old and in need of replacement.

“We will be continuing to support the Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise going forward until an alternative solution has been found.”

A decision about the future of the boardwalk will be made at a later date. Other opportunities for funding are now being explored.