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‘Residents have not felt safe’ Ilkley Town Council hears

At the Ilkley Town Council meeting on Monday, Councillors heard how the last week has been challenging for the town. The easing of lockdown and hot weather brought large numbers of visitors to the riverside parks and Cow and Calf, with overcrowding, inconsiderate parking, litter, anti-social behaviour, and a lack of social distancing amongst large groups of people.

In his weekly statement, Ilkley Town Mayor, Cllr Mark Stidworthy said:

“Many Ilkley residents have not felt safe, and there is a high level of public concern, as seen by the attendance at Monday’s Town Council. Representatives from Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Police explained how these concerns will be addressed through the summer.”

Speaking at the virtual meeting, Bradford Council ward officer Sue Gledhill said: "It cannot all be about enforcement but, having said that, there are measures we can put in place. Installing temporary toilets & larger bins, improving car parking facilities and engaging with young people are all moves being considered by Bradford Council to help ease the situation."

Inspector Khalid Khan admitted 'we could have done things better', saying:

"The traffic did become a problem. There was also the issue around Covid regulations and the social distancing and how with the volume of people that do turn up I don't think it would have been possible to enforce. With the lock down it made it even more difficult to enforce."

Cllr Stidworthy's statement continues:

“Coronavirus is placing considerable strain on financial and staffing resources across the district, and individual volunteers and the Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks deserve our thanks for the help they are adding. We are also very grateful for our District Councillors highlighting these issues and raising safety and overcrowding issues with Bradford Council.”

“Whatever happens around us, each of us needs to continue to be rigorous about social distancing and hand hygiene to keep coronavirus in check. Stay at home as much as possible. Wearing a face covering helps reduce community transmission and is encouraged where social distancing is difficult. If you don’t have one, supplies are being produced by the Coronavirus Response Group, and can be picked up from local supermarkets.”

“In reality we are not returning to normal soon. To get to this point, big sacrifices have been made, and continue to be made, by everybody. We have done this together, with new links across the community building on those already existing. This has included neighbourhood groups, voluntary groups such as Ilkley Good Neighbours and CABAD, self-starting groups such as the Sewing Scrubs team, and regular and effective conversations between representatives from many organisations. The coordinating work of the Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group has drawn all these strands together will now evolve so that support continues into the long term.”

“Many people have faced difficulties for months, with job insecurity, financial difficulties or unemployment. Some local self-employed people and businesses have been unable to work for weeks. Families are under pressure at home, mental health is fragile, and many of our most vulnerable cannot yet venture into the community for the companionship that is so important for well-being. Anger, frustration and disappointment are inevitable. I hope that we will build on the resilience and cooperation we have shown so far to rebuild a town that remains kind and supportive for all, confident in its future.”

The Mayor finishes with a reminder that the Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group helpline is still operating and can help you with any of the issues above. Ring 07375 803 693 or visit the website to seek advice or help:

Ilkley Chat has been contact regarding the public toilets in town, the ITC Facebook page says 'We are working to open the public toilets as soon as possible and as soon as we have the appropriate measures in place for social distance marking and regular cleaning with sanitizer stations in place.'


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