RESIDENTS who live near a run-down park have vowed to work together to help its regeneration.

A meeting to discuss the future of Darlington's North Park resulted in a decision to form a Friends of North Park group, fighting the vandalism and anti-social behaviour that plagues the area.

Officials from Darlington Borough Council also attended the meeting, held at St Aquinas Church Hall, North Road, on Saturday.

The lack of security or park amenities dominated the discussion, with residents complaining that the park offered little attraction.

The installation of more CCTV cameras, warden patrols, and a perimeter fence were raised as means to make the park safer.

It was also agreed that more litter bins should be put in the park as part of the clean-up operation. Several had been removed in the past after they were set on fire.

Residents agreed that the project to improve North Park was a lengthy process, but they wanted to restore it to its former glory.

Shirley Winter, from the North Park area, said she wants it to be safe for her grandchildren to use.

"When I was younger, we used to go to the park and not worry about things like vandalism and safety," she said.

"There were always things for us to do. But now, when things are vandalised, they're taken away, like the flower beds and tennis courts."

Joan Young, from Zetland Street, said it is essential the park is made safer. "We need this to be a lovely area again, so you can walk around and feel safe," she said.

Shane Shrimpton, the council's environmental services operations manager, told the residents that they had to work together to ensure improvements could be maintained.

"As we regenerate the area we have to make sure that the investment lasts," he said.

"Twenty years from now, we have to have a strong group of people, who have brought their children up with the park, treated with respect.

"To make this work, it needs you, as the eyes and ears on the ground, to protect the park."