Aims and Annual Report PDF Print E-mail


Charity Number 1092549


The Aims of the Society


We are a local group interested in Ilkley past and present.

We aim:

  • To promote high standards of planning and architecture.
  • To educate the public in geography, history, natural history and architecture.
  • To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in Ilkley.

We research local history through architecture, planning applications and local families.

We guide local heritage walks through the summer. We can provide individual guided walks for visiting groups by arrangement.

We give illustrated talks, e.g. lost buildings of Ilkley, schools through the years in Ilkley, from village to town and Ilkley past and present.

We are developing a digital record of photographs, postcards, maps and other data. This includes planning applications for buildings from their introduction in Ilkley in 1869.

We are investigating renamed streets, houses, lost buildings, hydros, schools, gravestones and old Ilkley families and businesses.

We welcome people sharing information and memories about Ilkley and we reply to any enquiries.






This annual report records the society’s main activities in 2016-17, includes a statement of its accounts and outlines its proposals for 2017-18.

Officers and Executive Committee 2016-17

Chair Helen Kidman   Vice Chair Alex Cockshott   Hon Treasurer Denise Shillitoe   Hon Secretary Kate Brown

Executive Committee members: David Blackburn, Graham Peacock and Jan Stallworthy.   Examiner    Alan Brown

Charity Commission

The Society meets the Charity Commission's public benefit criteria. The Trustees have paid due regard to the guidance issued by the Charity Commission regarding public benefit under both the advancement of education and the advancement of citizenship and community development headings.

Reserves Policy

The executive committee has continued a reserves policy of £500.

Key Achievements 2016-17

The Society has had a very busy year, with a number of successful events. The society held a full series of members’ meetings throughout the year and continued its activity groups. Several members spoke at other groups’ meetings including the Rotary Club. 

The society was represented at the reconvened Local Plan hearings at Saltaire in May 2016.

In October, the Society was represented at the Civic Voice Convention at Chester and in December a short illustrated presentation on Ilkley’s conservation area was made at the Historic England Sector Day at York.

Efforts from various members in conjunction with the Friends of the Manor House and the Ilkley Manor House Group to save the Manor House for community use have lately been successful and a Community Asset Transfer is now going ahead. The Civic Society will continue to support this initiative.  With the Friends of the Manor House, a summer exhibition on the water cure was held at the public library.

The Society has continued to support The Friends of Ilkley Cemetery in efforts to improve the environs of the Cemetery for all visitors.  Support from the Tesco volunteers is much appreciated.

We had a stand at the Ben Rhydding fête in June 2016 to promote the Society’s activities.

We arranged an exhibition at the library to coincide with the Society’s 50th anniversary in June 2016, with special celebrations including an afternoon heritage walk and a celebration tea, both on June 16th. This was attended by Dr Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice and we welcomed members past and present.

For Heritage Open Days in September, we created a new heritage walk in the old part of Middleton which was well-attended.

Our annual design awards went well with good coverage in the Ilkley Gazette.

Main Activities and Public Benefit

Meetings - Monthly winter meetings have continued at Church House. These are open meetings, free of charge.

Newsletter – Three newsletters and the annual report have been produced and distributed. Members with access to e-mail are regularly contacted concerning issues of interest. Some of our activities have been reported on-line by Civic Voice and on local radio.

Website - The Society continues to maintain a website at

Awards - The Society held its Awards evening at the end of March. This was well-reported in the Ilkley Gazette.


Heritage Walks - A full programme of heritage walks was undertaken throughout the summer, with varying attendance levels. Additionally heritage walks were undertaken for several groups visiting Ilkley.

Campaigning - The society has been fully involved with the ongoing campaign to transfer the Manor House to a community trust and the initial meetings of the Ilkley Buildings Trust which is considering the future of the town hall complex.

The Society was represented at Bradford Council’s Overview and Scrutiny (Environment) committee when flooding in Wharfedale was discussed.

Activity Groups


All planning applications for Ilkley, Middleton and Ben Rhydding were examined and comments were made as necessary, including work on trees subject to tree preservation ordersWe met with planners and developers and spoke at a number of planning hearings.


Local history research continues to bear fruit in terms of support to planning, heritage walks and presentations.


Many comments were made both by individual members and the society concerning the pressure on transport systems during the Bradford district Local Plan comments period. We also contributed to the consultation   of the ongoing revision of the current Local Transport Plan (2011-26) by the new West Yorkshire Combined Authority. 

The awaited publication of which will cover future road, bus and rail improvements, looking forward for a new 20 year period.

West Yorkshire Rail matters

Also awaited are the promised improvements to rail services made as part of the refranchising process of Northern Rail undertaken by the Department for Transport. The new franchise commenced on 1 April 2016 and some timetable improvements should commence from December 2017, with new train sets arriving from late 2018 onwards.

Blue plaques

A number of new opportunities for blue plaques is being considered. Blue Plaque Trail leaflets are available from the Visitor Information Centre.

Campaigns and Projects

Ilkley Cemetery

The Friends of Ilkley Cemetery is a sub-group of ICS. This group aims to combat anti-social behaviour by increasing responsible presence in the cemetery. Regular litter picks and the cutting-back of ivy, shrubs and weeds continue, together with heritage walks and ongoing historical research into gravestones. We have been joined by volunteers from the Tesco staff community programme on a number of occasions.

Spa Well

Committee member Jan Stallworthy has continued regularly with gardening and litter picking at the Spa Well (behind the Spa Building on the Grove).  


A number of activities has concerned flood and water management campaigns. We have put pressure on Yorkshire Water during their prolonged road works in Ben Rhydding and protested at sewage discharges into the river. For research purposes, a visit to the Pickering area to see the acclaimed ‘Slowing the Flow’ project was undertaken and to consider its possible application to Wharfedale.   

Working with Other Groups

The Society supports and works with a number of other groups where our interests can be promoted:

Ilkley Design Statement Group, Keighley and Ilkley Voluntary Community Action, Ilkley Road Safety Committee,        Ilkley and District Arts Federation, Friends of King’s Hall and the Winter Garden, the Friends of Ilkley Moor, the friends of the Manor House, Bradford Building Preservation Trust,  Ilkley Youth and Community Association, Ilkley Summer Festival Committee, Ilkley Futures Group (for the Neighbourhood Plan),  the Bandstand Committee, Wharfedale Naturalists, The Victorian Society, Civic Voice and the Ilkley Manor House Group.

We are in close touch with Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (WARD), Addingham Planning Scrutiny Group, Addingham Civic Society and a number of other groups on Local Plan matters  We are supporting the development of the Ilkley Neighbourhood Plan.

We have kept in regular contact with Ilkley Parish Council, our District Councillors and our MP. The Society has been represented at a number of Local Plan events and at Wharfedale Action Group and the Ben Rhydding Green Belt Protection Group.

Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies

The Society is represented at YHACS meetings and members take an active part.

2017-18 Programme and Forward Look

The 2017-18 programme is published separately. A full programme of heritage guided walks will take place throughout the summer.

Nominations for the 2018 Awards are now open.

We will continue to play a part in the Neighbourhood Plan and the next stages of the Local Plan.

As part of the Big Conservation Conversation, we are holding an exhibition at Christchurch in June and inviting a number of others groups to participate and showcase their conservation activities in Ilkley. The exhibition will move to the library for the summer festival. A leaflet on conservation issues will be produced and delivered to all homes and businesses in the three conservation areas. We have plans for a new blue plaque and aim to get the town’s war memorial renovated and listed with Historic England. Fund raising for these activities is underway and a small grant towards them has been received from the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

Members of the Society will be attending the YHACS Planning Forum shortly to be set up.

We plan to leaflet homes and businesses in the cemetery to alert them to the activities of the Friends of Ilkley Cemetery and recruit new volunteers. We will be installing an interpretation board at the Ashlands Road entrance to the cemetery to inform visitors  about the history of the cemetery and our activities.