I welcome the decision to build a new visitor centre at Edwinstowe to celebrate Sherwood Forest and the legend of Robin Hood. It’s been a long time coming and I hope it finally happens.
One of the claims made by Coun John Cottee is that this initiative will protect the ancient woodland for future generations. I am at a loss as to understand how encouraging a commercial organisation to build a Disneyesque theme park is going to achieve this admirable and necessary objective.
Surely a better way of protecting Sherwood Forest is by supporting a properly resourced and adequately funded Ranger Service? Of course, it might be the intention that Discovery Attractions take over the management and care of the Forest as part of their contract. This is probably quite attractive to the current powers in County Hall. However, we need to accept that if Discovery Attractions is a commercial organisation whose reason for existing is to make money, the profit motive could take precedence over everything else.
There’s nothing wrong with making money out of giving a service, but ultimately if we fail to look after the Forest all that future generations will be left with is a theme park.
The other thing worthy of note is that the current restaurant at the Visitor Centre is a very valuable resource for local people, many who call on a regular and frequent basis.
I hope that Discovery Attractions and the planners will take note of this and make it possible to use the restaurant without paying to enter the attraction.