Your chance to buy shares and help Harrogate dream of setting up first ever community-owned woodland

Residents and local organisations can now buy shares in Long Lands Common community owned woodland project.

Saturday, 15th August 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th August 2020, 4:44 pm
Harrogate and Knaresborough residents and local organisations can now buy shares in Long Lands Common community owned woodland project.

The scheme has been awarded the national Community Shares Standard Mark for best practice and residents in Harrogate and Knaresborough are now invited to sign up.

It is planned to transform an available piece of Harrogate greenbelt farmland into a new 30-acre public woodland, accessible to all, with thousands of trees providing a rich habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.

The woodland, to be known as Long Lands Common, will border the Nidderdale Greenway, close to its starting point at The Avenue, Starbeck and the Bilton Triangle.

Chris Kitson, Secretary of Long Lands Common Limited, the Community Benefits Society set up by residents’ environmental group Nidd Gorge Community Action, said: “After months of hard work by our Long Lands Common team, I am delighted to announce that our share offer and business plan have passed rigorous assessments set out by the Community Shares Unit, to achieve the Community Shares Standard Mark.

"This means people can be confident that our share offer meets with national standards of good practice. We look forward to welcoming applications from individuals and organisations wishing to become shareholders and as a result, members of the Society.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our community for the tremendous support already shown for the project through pledging to buy shares, joining our Campaign Champions initiative and all the other volunteer offers.

"It feels a huge milestone to launch the sale of community shares, so we can empower people of all ages to take back some control of local green spaces. We only have until November 20th to raise £300,000 to buy the 30 acres of farmland between our two towns.

"I would be very grateful, so we can keep a track of any potential shortfall in our fundraising target, if the 1,500 pledgers who have already registered an interest or indeed people who haven’t registered but would like to buy shares, can do so now as soon as possible.

"It will really make a difference because only when pledges are turned into pounds will this dream become a reality.”

As well as individuals and organisations purchasing shares, they are also available to buy as gifts.

The minimum age to become a shareholder and member of Long Lands Common Limited is 16 years. Anyone wanting to leave their shares as a legacy in the event of their death to a named inheritor can do so.

The Long Lands Common team has made sure that applying for shares is as straightforward as possible. Application forms can be filled in online by visiting https://www.longlandscommon.org/buy-shares and payment made through the website, by BACS or cheque. Application forms are also available to download to fill in and post back to Jo Smalley, Membership Secretary of Long Lands Common Limited,12B Regent Street, Harrogate, HG1 4BE. Alternatively, they can be downloaded from the website, completed and scanned in and the scans emailed to [email protected]

Anyone requiring a paper application form to be sent in the post with associated share offer documents, should write to the above address or telephone 01423 560283 and leave a message stating what type of application form they require, i.e individual, organisation or gift.

Each community shareholder will become a full member of Long Lands Common Limited, with the right to vote on resolutions at annual general meetings and the power to stand for and elect the board of directors. Members will be a vital part of the governance and operation of the Society. They can help develop the long term strategy for Long Lands Common, hold board members accountable and take an active part in the activities on the land.