The New York Forest!
David Rayner reports...
Cllr Paula Widdowson is a Liberal Democrat member of York City Council and holds the position of Executive Member for Environment & Climate Change, coming to the post with a degree in biochemistry and many years practical experience in aligned industries.
Her talk to the club on July 30th was on the subject of the recently acquired 52 acre site in Napton village which the Council plans to turn into York’s new forest – an exciting development of an open-access woodland ultimately offering the people of York access to recreation, sport and education among 50,000 newly planted trees ultimately providing substantial long term carbon capture.
Paula talked with enthusiasm how, after many years contemplation by the Council, the site – a former farm – had unexpectedly become available, planning consent for change of use obtained and, critically, government funding for purchase, conversion and ongoing care had been negotiated with government in short measure.
Extensive public consultation had elicited how residents, young and old, would wish to use the amenity and a model of the site has been developed which appears to tick all the boxes of opportunity. Work on conversion has already started, with land cleared, fences installed and initial areas of wild flower meadow sown.
The site will offer employment, training in woodland skills and a number of commercial opportunites including catering. It is proposed to set aside an area for growing Christmas trees, with the potential to supply every household in York! The forest will take about 30 years to be fully developed and it is hoped further adjacent land can eventually be added to the amenity.