A VOLUNTEER group set up to improve the parks and recreational areas beside the River Wharfe in Ilkley has spent the summer months doing just that.

Pictured here is just some of the work carried out by The Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks.

Work includes:

• The raised beds near the Riverside Hotel have been refurbished, repainted and replanted, working alongside the local parks team

• Benches have been sanded down and repainted

• Pathways have been edged and weeded including Riverside Memorial Park, the tunnel and pathway to the swing bridge

• Trees have been coppiced and views to the river opened up again to give great views

• Flowerbeds have been weeded

• Regular weekly litter picks have taken place to keep litter levels down

• Discussions have taken place with Bradford Council to start the development of a new masterplan

• New signage is being designed currently and will hopefully soon be in place, with old and redundant signage removed

• Plans have been drawn up for new disabled access to the parks on both sides of the river and funding is being discussed

• A plan has been drawn up to replant the embankment by either side of the steps entrance of the Memorial Park

• Funding has been secured for a new wildflower area

• New bulb planting will shortly take place

• A project to renew the playground is gradually gaining momentum, with a steering group of interested parties. A banner will soon appear in the park.

Ed Duguid, chairman of The Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks (FOIRP) said: “As people can see we have been incredibly busy during the summer and intend to do our best to improve all the parks’ areas for residents and visitors alike.

“During the winter we will have regular work parties working in the park, including a continued programme of bench and bin refurbishment, and we welcome anyone who would like to come down for an hour or so to help us out.

“The more volunteers we have the more progress we make and the better our parks look! Things won’t transform overnight, but they will transform.”

A major area of work for the FOIRP has been tackling litter and anti-social behaviour.

During the summer months and over bank holiday weekends local residents were left outraged at the disregard for the parks with the amount of litter left behind.

Ed added: “Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks having been meeting with Bradford Council officers and councillors to see how this can be stopped in future. In meetings, which included Ilkley Town Council, Bradford Council has promised to ensure, in particular during the holidays periods and when good weather is forecast:

• there are enough bins in our park areas

• there are enough collections to stop the bins from overflowing

• there are mobile and foot warden patrols to both act as a deterrent and to fine those who litter with impunity in our park

• to give a clear message and signage about what is good behaviour in our parks

• to work closely with the police to ensure anti-social behaviour is tackled

• to launch an effective public campaign before the start of the summer to get key messages to those who come to our parks to ensure everyone can enjoy them.

“We intend to hold the council to these promises, because the people of Ilkley have had enough of their parks being spoiled by inconsiderate park users.”

If you would like to volunteer and help keep the parks in good shape, contact at: foirp2@gmail.com and see the FOIRP Facebook page.

Winter work party mornings are on Tuesday 10:30am to noon and Saturday 10:30am to 1pm.