“LET’S get together and arrest the decline of our Ilkley riverside parks.”

That was the rallying cry at a recent public meeting organised by the Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks (FOIRP).

Chairman of FOIRP, Ed Duguid said: “Yes, there are aspects of our parks which don’t look great at present. The people of Ilkley love their parks and I can’t imagine they will allow them to decline.

“The meeting was a great success and a vindication of our view that people in Ilkley care about their environment and want to ensure it is maintained properly. It was great to see members of the Town Council, including the new Mayor, members of the business community, local residents and other action groups with a positive attitude towards planned improvements being put forward by FOIRP, so it’s certainly not all negative. These are great park areas which people love to visit.

“Currently, with the decimation of their resources and massive decline in their staff, the Council Parks Department can only cut the grass 10 times a year and empty the bins twice a week. Depending on what’s left over in the kitty there are only a small amount of funds available to replace or repair the deteriorating infrastructure of the parks’ areas. Benches have had to be removed because they are rotten, bins are rusting, paths and entrance areas are crumbling at the edges with broken fencing, and the playground equipment and skate board park are past their sell by date and flower beds are unable to be tended.

“All this can be quite different. We have good ideas on how we can tackle these issues and have been working up plans over the last nine months.”

Recent initiatives by FOIRP include bench repairs, bulb planting, planting in raised beds, litter picks and path edging. Plans are afoot to improve the play area and its equipment and several work parties are being formed to tackle some of the problem areas.

“FOIRP have a new Facebook page and hope to soon have their own website up and running, so there will be little excuse for people not knowing what is going on,” said Ed.

If you would like to be involved with FOIRP contact the chair of FOIRP at: ed@ed-duguid.co.uk or you can find Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks information on their Facebook page.

* Next event: park edging continues, at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, May 21st. Meet at the War Memorial at Riverside Park. Bring along a spade or half moon cutter and get edging!