Scarborough council to decide on bid to replace boardwalk in Raincliffe Woods

Scarborough Council’s new look cabinet will be asked to support a bid for a replacement boardwalk at Raincliffe Woods when it meets for the first time next week.

David Bream (left) a Volunteer Task Leader for the North York Moors National Park leadsa group of Bishop Burton College students clearing the boardwalk in 2018. PIC: Gary Longbottom

The four-person cabinet, led by Labour leader Cllr Steve Siddons, is being asked to provide a “cashflow facility” to the Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise (RWCE) group as it bids for £800,000 in funding to replace the crumbling boardwalk.

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The borough council will cover losses incurred in the bidding process in a fifty-fifty split with the North York Moors National Park Authority, though the park authority’s liability will be capped at £10,000.

A report, which will go before the cabinet when it meets on Tuesday (18th), says that the boardwalk is at the end of its usefulness.

Report author Jo Ireland, the council’s customers, communities and partnerships manager, wrote: “The Forge Valley Boardwalk is situated at the East Ayton end of Raincliffe Woods, within the North York Moors National Park (NYMNP).

“The boardwalk is a wooden structure, approximately 2.3km long providing a popular walkway through a natural environment alongside the River Derwent.

“The current structure was installed approximately 19 years ago and is at the end of its life, with uneven surfaces and can be slippery when wet. It requires significant works to maintain and keep safe but despite ongoing works undertaken in partnership between RWCE, the council, NYMNP and the Scarborough conservation volunteers, significant resources are required to replace the current structure.

“If this funding is not forthcoming it is increasingly likely that all or part of the boardwalk will need to be removed.”

The Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise took over the running of the woods from Scarborough Council via a Community Asset Transfer in 2016, However, under the terms of the lease responsibility for the maintenance or removal of the boardwalk will revert back to the council if the application for funding is not successful.

The report adds that due to the time needed to study the funding bid it is possible the council could have up to £400,000 invested in the project, with an initial outlay of £20,000 provided upfront.

If the bid to the European RDPE Growth Programme is successful it is hoped that works on the boardwalk could commence in early 2020.

When the RDPE money is secured repayments will then be made to the council to cover any loans it has made for the project.