Agenda item

Raincliffe Woods (Forge Valley) - Boardwalk Project

To consider the report of the Director (NE) (reference 19/132) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 19/132) in respect of the Boardwalk Project in Raincliffe Woods.  Members were advised that the boardwalk along the River Derwent in Forge Valley was coming to the end of its natural life, and that this project represented an opportunity to replace the structure in its entirety whilst delivering access improvements and safeguarding the environment on this Site of Special Scientific Interest in the National Park.  Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise which managed the area had applied for a large grant from the RDPE Growth Programme to facilitate the project but as a small organisation required some short term cashflow assistance from the Council between expenditure and receipt of the £800k grant funded at 100% with no match funding requirements.  In response to concerns which had been raised through the consultation process about protection of the sensitive environment around the boardwalk, the Customers, Communities and Partnerships Manager, Ms Ireland explained that detailed pre-application work was taking place in respect of the permissions required from the Environment Agency to undertake the work, and also in respect of mitigation of the project’s financial risks.  With the permission of the Chairman, local Councillors Phillips and Coulson addressed the meeting.  Councillor Phillips was critical of RWCE’s lack of engagement concerning the project, and commented on the poor access to the site, the narrow road used as a rat run, the lack of a footpath, the projected traffic increases and the existing problems with rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour in the area.  Councillor Coulson referred to the shortage of car parking and asked who was responsible for the boardwalk’s maintenance.  In response, Ms Ireland commented that highways issues would be addressed through the planning process.  The proposals had also been revised following the public consultation to re-locate the new footpath further away from the road and not create laybys, and to erect signage which would advise dog-walkers about the environmental sensitivity of the site.  Further, RWCE and other agencies were aware of anti-social behaviour in the woods, but she did not feel that this scheme would aggravate this problem.  Additional car parking provision would be created as part of the scheme, and upon its successful completion, RWCE would be responsible for its maintenance.

RESOLVED that:

a)    The Council enter into an agreement with Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise (RWCE) to provide a “cashflow facility” to support the delivery of the Forge Valley Boardwalk replacement project and associated works.

b)    That the Council enters into an agreement with North York Moors National Park (NYMNP) to share  financial losses incurred as a result of:

·          ineligible expenditure or overspends on a 50/50 basis

·         overspends on a 50/50 basis, with a maximum liability for NYMNP of £10,000. 

 

Reasons

The Council are responsible for the maintenance of the Forge Valley Boardwalk. RWCE are currently applying for a large grant which will facilitate the replacement of the Forge Valley Boardwalk. However, as a small organisation with limited financial resources they are unable to fund in advance the scale of the works required. They, therefore, need some short term cash flow assistance to cover the period between expenditure and receipt of the grant from the RDPE Growth Programme.

 

Supporting documents: