“I’m afraid it’s a case of here we go again”, said Ed Duguid. Chair of Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks (FOIRP).

Over the last few months both FOIRP and Bradford Council have been busily making improvements to the way the Parks at Ilkley Riverside look, through trimming the paths, litter picking and the creation of new entrance areas at Riverside Gardens, East and West Holme Fields. The grass was cut and tree damage tidied up from the flooding in March, the outlines of some new wildflower meadow areas have been marked out in preparation for work once the social distancing can be relaxed.

Then, bang, we get some great weather and some relief from the tighter regulations and we welcome back many visitors to the Parks.

“Now you would think that those coming into the Parks would say, wow, don’t the park areas look fantastic and whatever we do we must ensure that we now look after these and respect the work that the Council and the park volunteers have been doing? You would, wouldn’t you?” said Ed, “ Sadly no, however, what we get is what we get every year when the weather improves, we get people who think it is ok to bring vast quantities of food and drink into the Park then leave their trash for others to clean up. And when the bins are full, do they take their litter home and stick it in their own bin. No, they just dump it, either by the bins or in some cases just leave it where they were sitting at the time. This is so disappointing for those of us who use the parks all year round”.

“On the plus side, of course, we are lucky to have to Litter Fairies who come out at night and clear it all up. Sadly not, and with the advent of the Covid Epidemic, the Council are now short staffed with various redeployments and the remaining staff struggle to keep up. FOIRP help with additional litter picks to clear up litter which is blown around, but frankly this should not be happening. IF THE BINS ARE FULL THEY SHOULD TAKE IT HOME!”

FOIRP are in discussions with Bradford Council and the Town Council. Bradford Council now says they will have a new comprehensive plan in place shortly and there will be additional litter collections over the Bank Holiday weekends and additional measures to tackle the anti social behaviour by a significant minority.

“This must now happen”, said Ed, ”Much of the planning for this summer has been overtaken by events, but it imperative that action is now taken to get the message out to people who visit our Parks that they are for everyone’s enjoyment and there is no enjoyment in wading through litter or watching bad behaviour. The message is

IF YOU VISIT OUR PARKS PLEASE RESPECT THEM AND OTHER USERS. IF THE BINS ARE FULL TAKE YOUR LITTER HOME!”

The time form action is now!

FOIRP will be launching their new website shortly, which will reach a greater number of people, the Group hopes.

If you are interested joining FOIRP or volunteering You can do this via the website. If you have any issues doing this you can contact FOIRP at: foirp2@gmail.com 

You can also find Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks information and lots of examples of their work on their Facebook page and on their Twitter feed.