A GROUP of Keighley people hope to turn public open land in Highfield into a cleaner, more welcoming place.

They are setting up a Friends of Burgess' Field group to drum up funding and other support to improve this part of the neighbourhood.

Keighley town councillor Amjid Ahmed, who is leading the effort, said: "Our aim is to have a place for children, young adults and the elderly to enjoy.

"We now have a friends group committee, but we're still looking for people to put their names forward to volunteer, as we're hoping to arrange some clean-up days.

"We look forward to hearing from anyone who can offer some time."

Coun Ahmed, who represents the council's Highfield ward, said he had noticed that Burgess' Field's play area had very little equipment left for youngsters when he took his own children there four months ago.

He added that the area also lacks seating and is affected by littering, potentially dangerous broken glass and dog fouling.

Last month the Keighley News reported that rugby club Cowling Harlequins had its recently-refurbished Burgess' Field changing rooms broken into some time between July 6 and 7.

The thieves made off with balls, boots, flags and shirts, and also vandalised parts of the property.

Coun Ahmed said: "I decided that the only thing that can be done is to set up a friends group so we can try and improve the area ourselves.

"I arranged an informal public meeting to see if there was any local interest. That meeting went well, and about 20 people turned up.

"Six people have said they are happy to come on board, and they all live in the area. It's always good to have locals involved, because they know what the issues are."

He said that once the friends group is properly constituted it would start applying for funding to help make Burgess' Field an inviting location.

He stressed he and his colleagues were keen to work with the groups which currently use the area.

"I know there are pots of money available for community projects like this, so I'm fairly confident that we'll able to apply successfully," he said.

Coun Ahmed said volunteers willing to help the group can contact him on 07946 702293.

Fellow Highfield resident Arafat Latif, 39, who is also involved with setting up the friends group, said: "At the moment this park lacks play facilities where families with young children can go and enjoy themselves.

"We'd also like there to be benches, so older members of the community can sit down and relax."