Unanimous agreement 'time for action on summer Ilkley riverside issues'


Following a meeting on Monday 8 June between FOIRP, the Town Council and Bradford Council there was unanimous agreement that action was needed immediately to stop the persistent issues which arise whenever there is warm, sunny weather in Ilkley.

The FOIRP Chair and Deputy Chair met with the Town Mayor and Deputy Mayor, along with representatives of with Bradford Council. A Draft Plan was discussed and the basic elements agreed.

“An important aspect of ensuring future action is taken promptly when required is the acknowledgement that we need a trigger for the necessary actions when it is clear the park areas are going to be more intensively used”, said Chair of FOIRP, Ed Duguid, “ and managers know they have the resources available to put these measures in place. There was agreement that this was required. The Bradford Council representatives said the resources have been identified to support a range of measures that should alleviate many of the problems raised in recent weeks.”

Key measures for immediate effect will include Joint Patrols by the Police and Park Wardens to enforce the Bye-laws and to combat anti-social behaviour which may result from drinking too much alcohol or from drug taking, both of which we witnessed in recent weeks. Youth Workers will be deployed to engage with young people and address any issues which may be impacting on the enjoyment of the parks by other visitors. It was acknowledged that other legal measures may be required, but that these cannot be put in place in the short term and it as important that a range of partners were consulted on such matters.

Littering has also been a major problem during these periods of high intensity use of the parks. Actions agreed for immediate effect are daily collections and clearance of bins during these periods, the introduction of larger bins and more bin capacity to assist those who genuinely want to dispose of their rubbish responsibly. In addition, the Council will be assisting FOIRP with additional resources (Litter Pickers, gloves, bags, etc.) so volunteers who want to help out can do so safely.

Town Mayor Stidworthy informed the meeting that, subject to safety measures for the Covid epidemic, the Town Council intended to open its Public Toilets by 12th June.

Various traffic measures will be put in place, but these are subject to further discussions with the Police. In addition, and immediately, the Council will be putting additional parking restrictions in place along the Denton Road and in the longer term are now looking at additional physical measures to ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, in particular in the vicinity of the Swing Bridge. Because of the potential knock-on effects of any parking measures there will be consultation with local residents.

It was accepted that many of these measures were quick fixes and it is intended that in the longer term actions needed to fit with the Plans for the Town as a whole, such as the “Clean Ilkley” Campaign. There is also a major element of media and public messaging, amongst other things, which will have to be tackled.

“I feel we made good progress in addressing some of the key issues that occur in the Park areas every year. There is much which remains to be done, but with the immediate measures agreed, we all hope it will start to make a difference”, said Town Mayor, Mark Stidworthy, who chaired the meeting on Zoom.

FOIRP IS LAUNCHING their new website. You find this at: friends-of-ilkley-riverside-parks.com

If you would like to become a member and support FOIRP’s work in the Parks you can complete the online form on the website and follow the instructions on the website.

If you have any questions or ideas about the parks, you can contact them via the website or email the Chair of FOIRP at: foirp2@gmail.com

You can also find Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks in their Facebook group and on their Twitter feed where you will find lots of examples of their work and what’s happening in the riverside parks.

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