Plea over ranger plan gains

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ORGANISERS behind a popular Muston floral celebration have criticised “horrifying” plans to axe a valuable borough-wide park ranger service.

Members of Muston in Bloom have reacted with grave disappointment to proposals from Scarborough Council that would remove its two-man ranger team from active duty and close their Scarborough base.

The rangers currently operate alongside the parks and countryside services, helping to promote and protect all parks and green spaces while managing countryside sites and carrying out practical conservation work.

However, under the plans they could be replaced by volunteers, but Jackie Town, secretary of Muston in Bloom, said they provide a fantastic amount of support and were intrinsic in helping to patrol the village’s Scarecrow Festival.

She said: “We are outraged at the proposals.

“The park rangers play a vital role in the community in providing an invaluable service for the whole borough and cover all the places the police do not normally have the resources to.

“Their help and guidance with all the local events they attend would be sorely missed.

“Towns and villages are largely dependent on their tourist trade which has been built up very successfully over the years and a major contributing factor to this success has to be down to the excellence of the borough’s floral displays, parks and gardens providing an instant spectacular visual display.

“Losing one of its biggest assets could seriously jeopardise the whole of the future of tourism for the surrounding areas, outsourcing plants would be a risky business with a distinct possibility of lack of choice and inferior quality.”

Mrs Town said a consultation meeting with voluntary groups affected by the potential changes would be welcome, and called on residents to lobby the council to save the service.

She added: “Roger Burnett and Sheila Johnson with the backing of the rest of the team have given an immense amount of time and effort in setting up, nurturing and encouraging all the local In Bloom groups over the past few years with fantastic results.

“This has raised the profile of the whole borough, enhancing visual effects, improving cleanliness, involving whole communities and has really put Yorkshire in Bloom on the map.

“Does the council really want to jeopardise all this?

“If all the voluntary groups loose their support, we can visualise that many of the groups would possibly fold.

“It would be back to square one and the blame would be laid squarely on their door-step.”