It is with the most serious concern that I raise the issue of Raincliffe Woods, Row Brow and Forge Valley.
Considering that this is the subject of the council’s first venture into a Community Asset Transfer, the results so far must set a negative precedent for any similar transaction.
This much-loved natural amenity was duly trusted to Scarborough council in a capacity of trusted custodians on behalf of the whole community.
However, the wholesale transfer of such a precious natural resource to a so-called ‘community enterprise’, was effectively consigning it to an extremely uncertain future. Of the unfortunate consequences following this policy the public are becoming increasingly aware!
The first results of this failed project are now manifestly obvious. From the start the project involved excessive felling of healthy, mature trees that have formed an integral part of this unique woodland.
The works that have taken place go far beyond what we were given to understand as just a 20 per cent clearing operation in a limited area, with more large scale operations still planned. This comes at the expense of any theoretical aspect of conservation or any possible gain to our local community.
The issue of extreme weather events has been raised, and the role of mature coniferous trees in reducing run-off, flooding and preventing land slip. This has particular resonance in Raincliffe Woods and along the steep escarpment. Large-scale removal of trees and a misguided ‘fell to waste’ operation along the ridge could seriously undermine the safety of the ridge and ruin the lovely backdrop to our town which also serves as a nature corridor and ‘green lung’ behind the hospital and cemetery.
In view of the public’s growing deep concern and the detrimental ongoing inappropriate commercial operations, the council would be well advised to look again at this asset transfer on behalf of the whole community.
Perhaps then to reconsider other options to better safeguard this precious piece of our local landscape into the future.
Miss JA Strutt