ILKLEY’S Conservative district councillors say Bradford Council’s proposed budget for the coming financial year ignores the needs of outlying towns.

Having seen the proposed budget for Bradford Council for 2020/21 Cllrs Kyle Green and Mike Gibbons say it is a budget for Bradford city centre, not for the district.

While there is a small investment in Ilkley Lido in the budget, there is scant else to give value for money to Ilkley taxpayers, they say, adding that in contrast to this, the Labour-run council is spending millions on investments in the city centre on “pet projects”. This includes spending £21million on the new Darley Street Market and a new office building at One City Park.

The say that perhaps more painful for Ilkley residents, keen to see extra parking capacity in the town, is the fact that despite the council only recently spending over £4million on acquiring the NCP Hall Ings car park, they are now knocking it down.

Cllrs Green and Gibbons say that in contrast to this, no money appears to have been allocated for the much-needed crossing at Ilkley Grammar School, despite them having a site meeting to discuss where best to locate the crossing with Council officers and staff from IGS.

Cllr Green said: “This budget has little for Ilkley within it. No money has so far been allocated to the much-needed investment in a new playground at Riverside Park and perhaps more worryingly Bradford Council is now looking to put more cost on Ilkley residents by asking for the Town Council to fund highway schemes through the town precept, such as a 20mph zone in Ben Rhydding - something that is likely to see the precept rise again on top of the 10 per cent it has already done this year.”

Cllr Gibbons added: “Ilkley residents are entitled to a fair share of the Budget funding - items such as a crossing at the Grammar School are much needed for the safety of our children. The central intake of funds from Ilkley is very substantial, I want to see a fair distribution of that take returned to Ilkley and its needs.”

But Leader of Bradford Council, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe hit back: “I absolutely refute that and it’s disappointing that these councillors are not more confident about the place they represent. By contrast, our budget proposals will deliver significant investment for Ilkley at a time when a decade of Tory government austerity has taken its toll on communities, all across the district.

“In spite of this financial reality, our proposed budget invests substantially in areas such as Climate Emergency, Children’s Services and Health which benefit all people in the district no matter where they live. On top of that investment we have committed to investing £460,000 in the Lido and pool and £200,000 in flood alleviation work on Ilkley Moor.

“Our additional £460,000 investment in the Lido and pool follows on from our £428,000 capital spend on improvements to the facilities over the past five years. We are immensely proud of the Lido, it is hugely successful. We reject the suggestion that investing the best part of £1m into the Lido and pool represents a small spend.

“Again it’s simply untrue that we are not investing in road safety improvements in Ilkley. We’ve already agreed to look at a crossing near Ilkley Grammar School through our planned reinvestment into Ilkley from the parking scheme, which also includes road safety junction improvements on Railway Road and Brook Street and the town centre 20mph zone which will include residential areas around it.

“Our budget will deliver on our strong economic strategy to boost the district’s economy, improve skills and create jobs, including our successful district growth scheme that supports start-ups and existing businesses to grow.

“We have also supported the Ilkley BID with grant funding to support its establishment. City centre regeneration, in creating jobs and boosting business rates, benefits us all.

“The challenge for towns is high on the national agenda now, given the negative impact of government austerity and shifting consumer habits on high streets across the country. As the council’s Labour leadership we are repeatedly taking that message loud and clear to government that they must end their harmful cuts, work with us and provide the right investment, deliver better transport and unlock growth. I urge the local Conservative councillors to do the same and call on their own government to get behind our district.”