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Work to Scarborough's Forge Valley Approved

Work to Scarborough's Forge Valley Approved

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Carl Gavaghan at 1:55pm 17th October 2019.

A scheme to improve access to a nature reserve near Scarborough to allow it to be used all year round has been approved, at the second time of asking.

The North York Moors National Park Authority today granted planning permission to Scarborough Borough Council to carry out works to car parks, paths and to create a new footbridge at  Forge Valley, at the East Ayton end of Raincliffe Woods.

The Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise (RWCE) took over the running of the woods from Scarborough Council via a Community Asset Transfer in 2016 and earlier this year the borough council’s cabinet agreed to back a plan to bid for £800,000 of EU funding to replace an ageing boardwalk in the woods.

Though the boardwalk did not require planning approval as it is a like-for-like replacement the works to the car parks and the new bridge were needed to secure access for all users to the boardwalk.

The improvement scheme was due to be voted on by the national park’s planning committee last month but was deferred at the request of the borough council due to concerns about where a proposed new car park would be situated.

After some changes to the scheme, national park planning councillors gave the plan the green light when they met today in Helmsley.

The report which went before councillors noted:

“At present, the area includes a boardwalk on the west side of the River Derwent, a number of designated car parks along with informal parking facilities at the southern end of the reserve at Seavegate.

The existing boardwalk was created in 2000 to enable wheelchair users to access the nature reserve but is no longer fit for purpose and in need of replacement.”

Councillors heard that support for the scheme was not universal.

Robert Peacock, from RWCE, told the meeting that without planning permission the funding bid to pay for the improvements would fail and the boardwalk, which itself would cost £550,000 to replace, would have to be removed, making the area more difficult to access and be used by visitors.

He added:

“No car park, no bridge [equals] no boardwalk.”

West Ayton Parish Council and a local farmer both objected to the installation of the new access bridge opposite Wallis Quarry, with the parish council saying the footbridge would result in increased riverbank damage.

The footbridge would join the parishes of East and West Ayton across the Derwent when built and the parish council of East Ayton had no objection to the structure.

Cllr David Jeffels (Con) told the meeting that the boardwalk in its present state was “almost too dangerous to use”.

He added that he hoped issues around anti-social behaviour and concerns about the increase in traffic would be addressed as the scheme moves forward.

The plans were passed by 16 votes to one, with one abstention.

If the funding bid is successful it is hoped the work will be carried out in early 2020.


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