A councillor is calling on the community of Ilkley to galvanise itself in the face of spending cuts and loss of services.
Ilkley is being threatened on a weekly basis, says Bradford district councillor Anne Hawkesworth, who believes community trusts and other initiatives are needed to help keep the town an attractive visitor destination and pleasant place to live.
Services that Bradford Council is not required by law to provide, such as public toilets, flowerbeds and maintenance of places of interest, could be cut in future, Coun Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) fears.
She believes community trusts, a community asset register, town lottery, parish council funding and a lengthman – to keep streets tidy and look after the White Wells toilets – could be needed to maintain the town as it is.
“Having just received Bradford Council’s schedule showing reduced spending on parks, I feel as though Ilkley is being threatened on a weekly basis by Bradford Council,” she said.
“Over the past two years I have warned Ilkley Parish Council that Bradford Council revenue is being reduced to the level they can do little more than fund services they have a statutory duty to provide.
“Bradford Council continues to spend on areas that are wasteful and would not be seen as a priority by Ilkley residents – and I do not support that – but there is no doubt Bradford has reduced funding.”
If Ilkley is going to remain an enjoyable visitor destination, she says, it needs things visitors expect, such as clean streets, no rubbish, toilets, flowerbeds and places of interest. Many of these are non-statutory services.
She is concerned the council’s ruling Labour group’s cultural and tourism strategy, recently presented to the executive, mentioned only central Bradford by name.
“It is no use sitting like scared rabbits in the glare of the headlights,” Coun Hawkesworth added. “There are things to be done – community trusts, community asset register, town lottery, employing a town lengthman.
“Most of the above need action – support and money from the parish council. It is not ‘double rating’ – a cry from the past if ever there was one – it is the power of the parish and local people.”