City of York Council says it is “seeking the views of residents and local organisations on its plans to create an extensive community woodland area near Knapton”.
The project got off to a poor start with behind closed doors decisions eventually committing the Council to purchase farming land valued at around £2 million for the forest.
No business case was ever presented which compared the financial and environmental benefits of a forest with the existing food production use or indeed more obvious uses in support of environmental challenges.
The survey includes questions on the 194-acres of land to the West of York, including “suggesting a name for the new area“, which sounds slightly patronising to us. The important decisions have already been taken but if you think that Knapton Wood should be called Sherwood Forest North then please let us know!
The council says, “As part of its commitment to creating a cleaner, greener city and its ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon by 2030, the council plans to plant 50,000 trees on the site by the spring of 2023. As well as acting as a ‘carbon sink’, the green space will boost the health and mental wellbeing of local people by giving them somewhere to exercise, spend time outdoors in nature and a place for quiet contemplation. It will be an important wildlife habitat, enhancing biodiversity in York, as well as creating new green jobs and volunteering opportunities, helping to boost the development of green skills”.
In recent months the council has completed a detailed land character assessment to explore the site’s existing flora and fauna, landscape, soil types, drainage features and access points. This process has given the council a good understanding of the opportunities and constraints presented by the site, and helped to shape a series of different design concepts showing how the woodland could look.
Residents are now being asked to share their views on the design concepts so that their feedback can help shape the council’s plans for the site, as well as offer an insight into the role that residents and local groups can play in its creation and ongoing management. As a part of the consultation, residents are also invited to suggest possible names for the new woodland that reflect the heritage of the local area and tie in with the project’s ambitions.