THE safeguarding of a town's historic open spaces could take a step nearer next week.

Richmondshire Landscape Trust wants to buy the sites in Westfield, South Bank, Sleegill, Reeth Road and Jack King's Wood in Richmond, from the district council to protect them for future generations.

At a meeting on Thursday, council officers will ask for authorisation to sell the 88 acres of agricultural land to the community group.

Richmondshire Open Spaces Appeal (Rosa) has been busy raising funds since April to acquire the £120,000 needed to buy the land.

They have already raised more than £40,000 - enough for the down-payment - and spokesman Stuart Parsons said he was confident the rest of the money could be found.

Mr Parsons said: "We will keep fundraising. We have sent out numerous grant applications and we will continue to ask people to give us money, or lend us money if necessary. Some of these sites are part of the medieval history of Richmond and it would be an absolute disaster to lose them."

If councillors agree to the sale, it is hoped the deal can be signed next Monday.

The second payment would then be due in September next year, with the third required a year later.