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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 2022-23, includes a statement of its accounts and outlines its proposals for 2023-24.


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 2022-23


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 re-commenced and have been well- attended. Four civic society newsletters have been issued.

In June 2022, the society hosted a visit to Ilkley by the Victorian Society.

A very successful meeting was held at Heathcote, the villa designed by Lutyens, where members were able to visit the interior of the building for the first time in many years.

Membership has increased to 90.

A blue plaque was placed at Operatic House on Leeds Road.


Design Awards

Design Awards have not been made this year. The nominations received reflect the slow-down in building work – many projects are in final stages but are not sufficiently complete to be judged. These will be added to the 23/24 Design Awards nominations.

Main Activities and Public Benefit

Meetings. We managed to hold two members’ meetings on Zoom and three face to face. Executive committee meetings, Local History Hub Meetings and Local plan discussions have continued.

Website – Our website has been kept up to date and attracted interest from both members and potential members. The Local History Hub pages are currently being redeveloped.


Activity Groups



Within Bradford district approximately 5400 planning applications submitted during 2022 of which 282 were in Ilkley Town Council boundary (250 last year). ICS commented upon 138 (100 last year). No public comments were allowed on 72 of the 282. The significant trend of the year was the falling off in the numbers of applications in the last quarter where on average we commented on between 4 and 6 per fortnight whereas in the first 9 months of the year we commented upon 6 and 10 per fortnight.

Significant applications and decisions included-

Hollycroft, Hebers Ghyll Drive, Ilkley. (21/02958) After amended drawings were submitted, planning permission was refused by CBMDC and an appeal on that decision was lost by the developer. This means this ‘Key Unlisted Building’ has been saved for the moment and we hope to see a new owner either return the house to single occupancy or flats as the only sensible and sustainable use.

Denton Bridge (22/01375) The application for a new bridge withdrawn later in the year.

Mobile phone masts –

Increase in height of mast at telephone exchange

Bolling Rd – constructed and it is an eyesore

Grove Rd – withdrawn

Bank Closures-

Barclays (signage), Lloyds (conversion to flats and retail) and Nat West (signage) all submitted planning applications. We expect HSBC to follow suit.

Denton Hall change of use – This is not technically in our patch, but after consultation with Harrogate Civic Society, ICS made formal comments on a Neutral stance supporting the retention of this fine John Carr Grade 1 listed building but with comments on some detail issues.  

There has been very little activity on the Local Plan.

The Neighbourhood Plan passed its referendum on May 5th 2022 and is being implemented. It has already been cited by planners who are taking notice of what the community wants.

Local History Research

Research has continued, aided by availability of the 1921 census and 1939 registrations. There have been many donations to the local history hub including a second more modern microfiche reader. Cataloguing activity continues to be undertaken by U3A. The land sale maps from the 1860s and 70s, and the overhead photographs of Ilkley have been used in exhibitions.


Trains have been severely affected by industrial action and several local bus services are under threat of withdrawal. The Civic Society continues a watching brief on transport issues in Wharfedale.


Blue plaques

A blue plaque was unveiled at the Operatic House on Leeds Road commemorating its history. Research continues and a further two blue plaques are going ahead.




Campaigns and Projects


Ilkley Cemetery

The Friends of Ilkley Cemetery meet weekly on a Tuesday afternoon all year round, weather permitting.

Despite volunteer turnover the average attendance is four volunteers each week.

  • The Friends undertake regular work to tidy the Memorial Avenue, abandoned graves and to uncover overgrown and hidden graves in the Cemetery.
  • The Friends also undertake litter picking - though we are pleased that this has become less of an issue in recent years.
  • We assist families with finding and tidying family graves when requested and time allows.
  • We liaise with Bereavement Services and other bodies when necessary to report and help resolve issues and complaints. Sadly, these have included the reports of thefts of crosses and other goods from graves last summer when it was necessary to involve council officers and the police.
  • We have produced a new leaflet - Brief Guide to Ilkley Cemetery – and copies are available in the North Chapel, Ilkley Library, Ilkley VIC and on request via the website.
  • We arranged for a new Rowan Tree, paid for by Ilkley Civic Society, to be planted on the turning circle close to the North and South Chapels to replace the Monkey Puzzle tree that died.
  • A new Cemetery Information Board is being produced by the Friends for the Beanlands Parade entrance in conjunction with and paid for by Ilkley Civic Society which should be in place in February or March 2023.
  • Tree works at the Beanlands Parade entrance have been agreed with Bradford Council’s Bereavement Services by the Friends in conjunction with, and paid for by, Ilkley Civic Society which should take place in February or March 2023.

Upcoming and ongoing activities include:

  • Review of the planting at the Beanlands Parade Entrance.
  • Development of a self-guided walks leaflet for the Cemetery.
  • Research and recording photographs and family details of graves in Ilkley Cemetery on the findagrave.com website.

If you would like to get involved with the work of Friends of Ilkley Cemetery or have a query regarding Ilkley Cemetery please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(A Brief History of Ilkley Cemetery and the Memorial Avenue is available on the Ilkley Civic Society website at https://civicsociety.ilkley.org/friends-of-ilkley-cemetery-activities.html )


Local History Hub

Saturday afternoon themed meetings via Zoom and in person walks 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 all of the shops and offices to be recorded, with dates, using photographs, advertisements and family memories.

If you would like to get involved with the work of the Local History Hub please email
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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, 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 and Improving Ilkley. The society is a member of 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.



2023-24 Programme and Forward Look


We will continue to play a key part in the Neighbourhood Plan 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. Meetings held on Zoom are often attended by members who live away from Ilkley, some of whom are involved actively in local history research and share their findings. Our particular thanks go to Sally Gunton, who has shared a large number of pictures of Ilkley with the Local History Hub.

Work will continue on the website on blue plaques and local history and we are grateful to Robert Templar for his input on this.

Activity in the Cemetery will continue with a dedicated group meeting weekly, depending on the weather.

We are currently preparing a meetings programme for 2023/24.

There are vacancies on the committee and we invite any members to stand for election at the AGM on 27th April 2023.

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.