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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 2018-19, includes a statement of its accounts and outlines its proposals for 2019-20.

Officers and Executive Committee 2017-18

Chair Helen Kidman, Vice Chair Alex Cockshott, Hon Treasurer Denise Shillitoe,

Hon Secretary Kate Brown

Executive Committee members: David Blackburn, Graham Peacock, Jan Stallworthy, Ros Brown and Anthony Barnett

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 2018-19

The Society has had yet another 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.

Efforts from several 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 has finally been achieved. This was celebrated with a grand opening on April 5th 2018. The Civic Society continues to support the Manor House

Design Awards

The society’s Awards evening highlighted a variety of projects undertaken in the town from an addition to the war memorial to a 21st Century office building. There was good publicity in the local press.

Assets of Community Value

We have been successful in registering White Wells as an Asset of Community Value and are now renewing the application for the Manor House.

Heritage Open Days

We supported HODS with an event at the Manor House to raise awareness of our plans to set up an Archive to be known as the Ilkley Local History Hub. This has generated considerable interest with a number of groups and individuals in Ilkley.

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 www.ilkley.org/civicsociety

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.

Activity Groups


The planning committee has scrutinised some 240 planning applications during the last year, commenting on around a third of them. There have been meetings with applicants, builders and developers, site visits, consultations on the local plan and ongoing activity on the neighbourhood plan. The society has been represented at the Area Planning Panel on several occasions.

Design Workshop Two members attend the YHACS Design Workshop held in Wakefield, principally considering housing design and infrastructure, with useful ideas for commenting on planning applications


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


The last year has nationally been beset with poor running and reliability after the unsatisfactory timetable changes in May 2018. More fortunately the local Wharfedale and Airedale services have been affected much less than other routes operated by Northern, particularly in the NW of England. More inconvenient have been the regular strikes, particularly on Saturdays, over the nationally contentious issue of qualifications of the on board second person in addition to the driver – and which member of staff should supervise the closing of the centrally controlled doors. Locally the greater concern is the need for a second member of staff to assist the loading of any wheelchair passenger at unmanned stations.

2019 will see the introduction of a new set of electric trains on our lines. Since some of them will be of 6 vehicles, passengers will need to become familiar with selective door opening at some stations with short platforms. This is an accepted practice in some other areas of the country.

New diesel trains will similarly be introduced progressively on other local routes out of Leeds and also on the TransPennine services.


A short review of the Ilkley Conservation Area by civic society members is in progress.

Blue plaques

A number of new opportunities for blue plaques are 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. A generous donation from the Spooners’ Trust will be spent on improvements and planting.

Spa Well

We have continued to keep an eye on the Spa Well with litter picking, but much of the waste dumped there is commercial.

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, Ilkley Manor House Trust, Bradford Building Preservation Trust, Ilkley Youth and Community Association, Ilkley Summer Festival Committee, Ilkley Neighbourhood Plan), the Bandstand Committee, Wharfedale Naturalists, Ilkley U3A, The Victorian Society and Civic Voice.

We have kept in regular contact with Ilkley Town Council our District Councillors and our MP. We have raised a number of topical items at Parish Council meetings.

Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies

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

Civic Voice Conference

David Blackburn and Helen Kidman attended the Civic Voice Conference in Birmingham. Birmingham, which included a programme of high quality speakers, heritage walks, visits, the conference dinner at the cathedral and lots of opportunities to meet members of civic societies from all over the UK.

2019--20 Programme and Forward Look

The 2019-20 programme will be published separately.

A full programme of heritage guided walks will take place throughout the summer.

Our website is being updated and improved.

Nominations for the 2020 Design and Conservation Awards are now open.

We continue to play a key part in the Neighbourhood Plan including investigation of Community Infrastructure Levy payments in Ilkley and the next stages of the Local Plan of which the housing numbers, core strategy and green belt are under review. We will contribute to the consultation stages of these reviews.

Ilkley Local History Hub

We are developing an exciting project based at the Manor House, to set up a local hub for Ilkley. We have already received generous offers of furniture and equipment and interesting material, much of which will assist our work on planning and conservation areas, putting on exhibitions and producing publications.

We will be staging the 2019 Summer Exhibition, titled ‘Ilkley at Peace 1919’, at the Manor House. A sub group has been set up to develop this exhibition and work with local schools on this theme.