ENGLISH Heritage has enlisted the support of the Women's Institute to help clear streets of unwanted signs, poles and bollards.

The campaign, called Save Our Streets, was launched yesterday in Knaresborough, where the once-congested market square has been partially pedestrianised and resurfaced with York stone and cobbles.

English Heritage wants to transform thoroughfares in Yorkshire by sweeping away unnecessary clutter.

As part of the campaign, a manual called Streets for All will soon be published.

It shows highway engineers and planners what sort of paving, street furniture, signage and traffic management will best fit in with each area.

The Women's Institute is one of the organisations supporting the drive and many of its members will be conducting street audits to highlight the problem.

Barbara Gill, chairwoman of the National Federation of Women's Institutes, said: "Our members will be carrying out street audits and letting councils know that local people want their streets back.

"We want streets designed to encourage walking and cycling, which are barrier-free, accessible to everyone and pleasant places to be."

Travel writer Bill Bryson is also championing the Save Our Streets campaign.

He said: "We are setting out to restore dignity and character to England's historic streets, largely by removing the blight of unnecessary signs, poles, bollards, barriers, hotchpotch paving schemes and obtrusive road markings under which they are fast disappearing."

English Heritage has put together a Save Our Streets action plan as part of the campaign.

It includes running workshops for highway engineers and urban planners to ensure that good design and street management are co-ordinated.

There is a booklet for the public and a website to raise awareness of the issue.

David Fraser, Yorkshire regional director for English Heritage, said: "Our campaign is trying to put the character back into Yorkshire's towns, where high quality architecture and traditional materials go hand in hand."