A ROW broke out at a public meeting aimed at getting people on board a project to improve a Darlington park.

Local ward councillors called the meeting on Saturday morning to try to get residents to join a Friends of North Park scheme.

But angry residents said they had been let down by Darlington Borough Council in the past and did not believe the authority would spend any money on the park.

They said railings were needed because the park had become a meeting place for youths on a night and was regularly vandalised.

Mother-of-four Lesley Ross, of Zetland Street, told the meeting at Rise Carr Primary School how she had tried to get a similar scheme going several years earlier but had been rebuffed by the council.

"We sat in committee meetings; we didn't get anywhere," she said. "I don't think you are ever going to do it so long as we have the park as it is. It needs council money.

"You, as a group of people, are not going to raise enough money."

Joan Young, 70, also of Zetland Street, said: "It's a waste of time, isn't it? We can't do anything."

Yvonne Richardson, chairman of Friends of North Lodge Park, was invited to the meeting to explain how her group was set up.

But residents said the two parks could not be compared, as the council had been prepared to spend money on North Lodge.

"You are being very negative here," said Ms Richardson. "You have got a choice of either stay angry and say we have done it all before or you say we have got to do something."

Liberal Democrat councillor Stephen Jones said he and his fellow councillors had tried to get improvements for the area without success.

"We'll keep pushing for you but we need your help," he said.

Community development worker Morvyn Sanderson asked residents, about 30 of whom attended the meeting, not to dismiss the initiative.

"I think you are all here because you care," she said.

Another meeting about the scheme will take place on February 19, at 11am, at Rise Carr Primary School, Eldon Street.