Protest ride and sit in bid to save firm

Protesters getting ready for Saturday's show of support
Protesters getting ready for Saturday's show of support

SUPPORTERS of the Purple Mountain enterprise which is being ousted from Dalby Forest will stage a sit in protest and bike ride tomorrow.

It is in response to the Forestry Commission decision to award the tender for the running of the bike hire facility and cafe to large international companies.

Purple Mountain, under the leadership of Castleton businesswoman Vicky Griffin, has run both ventures successfully for six years and faces being put out of business by the end of this month.

A petition backing Purple Mountain has already received over a thousand signatures and several cyclists are set to turn out for the protest ride which leaves the Forestry Commission offices at Pickering at 10.30am.

They will ride to the courtyard at Dalby Forest where the cafe is and hold the protest with members of the public having strong opinions about the changes.

Last Friday Ms Griffin met with Caroline Spelman, the secretary of state for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

She agreed to look into Purple Mountain’s claims that the tender process was unfair and lacked transparency and that the boss of the Forestry Commission, Alan Eves knows Adrian Carter, boss of Pace Cycles, the firm awarded the new contract.

Ryedale Council is also now involved as it is opposed to small, independent businesses being replaced by big business and has invested a lot of money into the Courtyard at Dalby Forest.

Ms Griffin said: “We came out of the meeting feeling upbeat and felt that taking things to the top - maybe on this occasion you have to.

“The Forestry Commission cannot be seen to get away with this behaviour.

“This is definitely not a matter of sour grapes.

“I met another of the unsuccessful local tendees, and he felt exactly the same about the whole issue, and is making his own legal case against the FC also.