ILKLEY'S three district councillors have written to Bradford Council leaders urging action to tackle illegal and dangerous activities in the town.

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley), Councillor Kyle Green (Con, Ilkley) and Councillor Mike Gibbons (Con, Ilkley) fear a repeat of scenes from last year when an influx of summer visitors created huge disturbance to the town.

And with the current coronavirus pandemic likely to restrict summer holiday opportunities, all three Ilkley district councillors are very worried there could potentially be an even more serious problem this year.

To help prevent this they are asking Bradford Council for:

* work to put into place plans for a hard engineering solution in the Denton Road area to prevent dangerous and anti-social parking and that if required enforcement take place

* the provision of funding for new bins (or reallocation of underused 'belly bins' from elsewhere in the district) to help keep litter down to a minimum, helping to further discourage anti-social behaviour and keeping the park safe for residents using it

* confirmation that Bradford Council has a plan (and financing if required) to deal with any increase in visitor numbers, particularly should 'bathing status' be granted for the River Wharfe

* recognition that at times there are anti-social hotspots and that any CCTV installed in Ilkley will help assist West Yorkshire Police and the British Transport Police in identifying any known 'troublemakers'.

They say: "Last summer saw a number of incidents in Ilkley around the Denton Road area, indeed the August bank holiday weekend saw a huge number of visitors who undertook a range of illegal and dangerous activities and created a huge disturbance to the town of Ilkley and in particular to the Riverside Park and Denton Road area.

"For context, Ilkley Lido - though with social distancing this is unlikely to be replicated - has a peak capacity of 2,500 visitors and those unable to get into the Lido then find themselves looking to other nearby spots such as the 'beach' area on the River Wharfe along the Denton Road.

"We are especially concerned about use of the riverside areas for sunbathing, barbecues, swimming and drinking/parties. Last summer also saw issues of increased drug use and people recklessly jumping off bridges into the river.

"To minimise the risk that this could occur again we are pleased that the Ilkley CBMDC Ward Officer has been actively working with a range of agencies on an emergency plan to put in place.

"We are also pleased that the police and highways officers have been working on this issue and have been looking to implement measures to stop people parking dangerously and illegally in the Denton Road area.

"Such was the parking problem, emergency services were unable to then use the road.

"We working on these issues and are hopeful that with good intent, multi-agency input and serious financial contributions from Bradford Council, solutions can be found."

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “Ilkley is a very attractive tourist destination which is very popular with visitors, especially when the sun shines.

“This is good for supporting local businesses and for the economy of the whole town.

“Our Neighbourhood office staff have been working with various partners with a view to managing the impact on the town’s infrastructure of large numbers of visitors.

“These have included the police, highway services, Lido management, town and district councillors and the Friends of Ilkley’s Riverside Gardens.

“We are at present drawing up a local Action Plan to manage this season’s influx of visitors. This will include parking arrangements and cleaning up areas such as the riverbank following popular weekends.

“However, the outbreak of Coronavirus has thrown up a number of variables which may have a significant impact on any arrangements being put together.

“We will continue to work with partners and stakeholders on plans for safely handling visitors to the area in the summer and of course local councillors will be kept fully informed.”