PLANS to transform Scarborough’s Raincliffe Woods by running them as a social enterprise will come under the spotlight at a public meeting.
Supporters of the scheme, including Raincliffe Woods Friends group chairman John Bradley, say it could create jobs, facilities and educational opportunities in the woodland, helping to preserve its future.
Mr Bradley explained: “We would like to bring it back to a working woodland and see it reach its full potential.
“It could mean facilities on site such as a visitor centre, a cafe, toilets and educational activities.
“We would like to be somewhere that would attract people to come and spend the day.”
He added that the scheme would create jobs and training opportunities, in particular for young people.
Mr Bradley said: “It’s a big, exciting prospect and I’ve spent the best part of a year working on it.
“There’s marvellous potential. Now it’s a question of telling everyone about it and letting people have their say.”
As part of the background work, Mr Bradley has been speaking to Nigel Lowthrop, who has created a successful social enterprise at Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire.
He has also been working with social enterprise advisor David Hassall, of Seachange, to establish a plan which is independent, viable and sustainable.
The plan, should it go ahead, aims to encourage more people to use the woodland, generate interest in its long-term future, create jobs and volunteering opportunities, provide educational activities, and use timber from the woodland - as part of the management programme - for eco-friendly purposes in parts of the woodland, subject to appropriate planning permissions.
The main aim is to develop the woodland in a way that would provide the greatest benefit to Scarborough people.
Discussions have been held with North York Moors National Park, The Woodland Trust, Natural England and Scarborough Council, who owns the land.
The meeting takes place on Monday, May 28, at 7pm, in Yorkshire Coast College’s business centre. There will be time for questions.