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Aims and Annual Report

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 during 2021-22, includes a statement of its accounts and outlines its proposals for 2022-23.


Officers and Executive Committee 2021-22

Chair Helen Kidman, Vice Chair Alex Cockshott, Hon Treasurer Brian Mann,

Hon Secretary Kate Brown

Executive Committee members: Anthony Barnett, David Blackburn, Graham Peacock, Denise Shillitoe and Jan Stallworthy    

Examiner:    Roger Millen

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 2021-22


The Society continued to operate throughout the pandemic using Zoom for both main meetings and committee meetings, as well as smaller meetings

Activities to do with Planning, Friends of the Cemetery, the Local History Hub, blue plaques and various campaigns have continued. Heritage Walks have been written and published on line as self-guided events. A large number of other groups have continued to have civic society representatives – accessing meetings via Zoom.  Four civic society newsletters have been issued.

Membership has increased to over 80.  

A blue plaque was placed at Loxleigh on Mount Pleasant to commemorate its former use

as a hostel for boys fleeing Nazi Europe. Over 100 people attended the unveiling ceremony.  

Design Awards

Design Awards were made for the sensitive restoration of the moorside farm buildings at Gibfield and the innovative motor house in the grounds of an important Victorian house, Garsdale at Easby Drive.

Main Activities and Public Benefit

Meetings. We managed to hold 4 members’ meetings on Zoom and plan to continue with these meetings at least until we can go back to face-to-face meetings at Church House. Executive committee meetings, Local History Hub Meetings and Local plan discussions have been held on Zoom.

Website – Our website has been kept up to date and attracted interest from both members and potential members.


Activity Groups



For the year 2021/22 the number of planning applications for Ilkley has been approximately 250.We have commented on about 100.

Activity on the Local Plan suddenly recommenced with the publication of the Regulation 18 documentation including site allocations and the green belt review, with a six-week consultation period. All documentation is on line rather than hard copy. This has led to a period of intense activity to produce our comments. Of the 314 dwellings planned for Ilkley, 294 are planned to be on green belt sites, which is of considerable concern.  A special meeting on the local plan site allocations was held in March and helped to draft the society’s response to the consultation.

The Neighbourhood Plan, on which members have worked hard for several years has at last passed through the final processes and will be the subject of a referendum on May 5th 2022.

The society also responded to central government consultations on the 2020 planning white paper, permitted development, amendments to the national Planning Policy framework and the new National Model Design Code.


Local history research has been curtailed – the archives and local library with its local history collection have been closed. We have resorted to material held personally and online documentation such as newspapers held by the British Library available on line.


We have kept and will continue to keep a watching brief on local bus and train services. Northern Trains have recently announced that they are planning to reduce several Bradford rail services from 15 May 2022 because of a lack of demand. These include services from Bradford Forster Square to Shipley, Ilkley and Skipton which will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly. This is a retrograde step in the light of Bradford being shortlisted for City of Culture 2025.


Blue plaques

A blue plaque has been unveiled at Loxleigh on Mount Pleasant to commemorate the house being used as a hostel for Jewish children who escaped from Nazi Europe1939-47. This received extensive publicity. A further three blue plaques are at the planning stage.


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. A generous donation from the Spooners’ Trust will be spent on improvements and planting. Regular liaison with Bradford Council managers has continued.


Local History Hub

Saturday afternoon themed meetings, initially held at the Manor House, but for the last few months on Zoom, have attracted some large audiences. Information drawn from the continuing series of events on the theme of Brook Street and Leeds Road has enabled the succession of businesses in almost of all of the shops and offices to be recorded, with dates, using photographs, advertisements and family memories.

Access to our storage space at the Manor House has remained limited due to the restrictions on social distancing and a number potential accessions remain in private hands for the time being.


Working with Other Groups

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

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 the Riverside Park, the Friends of Ilkley Moor, the Ilkley Manor House Trust and their Supporters Group, Bradford Building Preservation Trust,  Ilkley Youth and Community Association, Ilkley Clean Rivers Group, Climate Action Ilkley, Olicana Historical Society, Ilkley Summer Festival Committee, Ilkley Neighbourhood Plan, the Bandstand Committee, Wharfedale Naturalists, Ilkley U3A, Improving Ilkley, The Victorian Society and Civic Voice.

We have kept in regular contact with Ilkley Town Council, our three District Councillors and our MP.

Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies

The Society is represented at YHACS meetings and members have taken an active part in meetings via Zoom.


2022-23 Programme and Forward Look

We will continue to play a key part in the Neighbourhood Plan as it goes forward to a referendum in May 2022, and in the next stages of the Local Plan which has still not been finalised by the local authority.

The Local History Hub meetings will continue and develop, feeding into further heritage walks both self-guided and led. We are continuing to develop cataloguing and I storage arrangements. These efforts are already supporting the creation of a new exhibition on Ilkley in the 1950s, timed to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Activity in the Cemetery will continue with a dedicated group meeting weekly.

We are currently preparing a meetings programme for 2022/23.