Plans move forward for woodland project

Photo:- Wendy Roughley, Nigel Lowthrop, John Bradley, Stuart Swann, Robert Sword, Mike Windle, Mark Laycock
Photo:- Wendy Roughley, Nigel Lowthrop, John Bradley, Stuart Swann, Robert Sword, Mike Windle, Mark Laycock
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An interim board has been set up to take forward plans to transform Raincliffe Wood by running the woodland as a social enterprise.

The board was formed during a meeting at the Crown Spa Hotel in Esplanade.

The officers selected were Stuart Swann as chairman, John Bradley (vice chairman), Mark Laycock (treasurer) and Wendy Roughley (secretary).

The acting managing director is Mark Windle and the board members are Nigel Lowthrop, Robert Sword, Chris Hoff.

The name of the proposed social enterprise will be Raincliffe Wood Enterprise, and will feature a strapline - yet to be decided - using the word “community” or “social”.

Members of the group say their vision is to develop the woodland by creating a diverse woodland environment, which can provide opportunities for conservation, employment, education, and recreation.

Following the meeting, vice chairman John Bradley said: “It’s going really well. We’ve been told by the council that the woodland is available for community asset transfer and we’ve had a positive reaction from them so far.

“Their board members have discussed our proposals and we will be meeting with the council again soon.”

Scarborough Council’s community asset transfer scheme relates to the transfer of council owned land or buildings, through long leasehold or freehold arrangements, to voluntary or community organisations or Parish/Town Councils.

The council said it had developed that plan as it wishes to “take a supportive and proactive approach to Community Asset Transfer and to establish a clear framework which sets out the criteria for transfer and the process for decision making”.

Supporters of the proposals for Raincliffe Wood would like to see the area developed for the good of the community, by running it as a social enterprise.

This means that it would be run on a “not for profit” basis and any money that was made would be invested straight back into the project.

Ideas for the woodland so far have included a visitor and education centre, activity trails, picnic areas and toilets, with a view to families and school groups being able to make more of the area.

Board member Nigel Lowthrop set up a similar project at Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire, which has proved very successful in providing recreation, work and training opportunities for local people.

The group is due to meet with the council again shortly.