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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 2019-20, includes a statement of its accounts and outlines its proposals for 2020-21.

Officers and Executive Committee 2019-20

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

Hon Secretary Kate Brown

Executive Committee members: Anthony Barnett, David Blackburn, Ros Brown, 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, the advancement of citizenship & community development headings.

Reserves Policy

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

Key Achievements 2019-20

The Society has had yet another busy year, with a number of successful events, until events were abruptly cut short in mid-March 2020, due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The society continued its activity groups throughout the year, latterly by telephone. Several members spoke at other groups’ meetings.

Design Awards

Our design and conservation awards were announced on 27th March 2020 and received good publicity in the Ilkley Gazette. A Design & Conservation Award was made to All Saints Church for the new link building and re-ordering of the church. Commendations went to the former Rombalds Hotel, Ilkley Grammar School, the Friends of the Riverside Park, the new spa in Craiglands basement and an old industrial building converted to offices & fitness studio. We hope a certificate presentation & press photo will follow soon.

Assets of Community Value

We have been successful in re-registering The Town Hall complex as an Asset of Community Value. This was important in view of concerns throughout the year regarding the future of the Carnegie Library.

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, in the local press and on local radio.

Website - The Society continues to maintain a website at www.ilkley.org/civicsociety. The site itself has been re-designed and updated and new e mail addresses are now available.

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


Another busy year with 287 planning applications submitted to Bradford Council in the Ilkley Town Council boundaries, about the same as last year. We commented on 184 of these recommending refusal on some but making neutral comments on others. It is disappointing that the quality of many applications is average/poor making the job of the planners more difficult, surprising as you would think applicants/agents would wish to make the planner’s job easier to get a positive result. We do not hold back from commenting on lack of quality in the hope that standards may rise.

Design Workshop Two members attended 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.


Major transport improvements are planned in the region but not specifically in Wharfedale. It remains to be seen what is undertaken in the short term. The appointment of a West Yorkshire Mayor should give more direction to the strategy.


The society remains concerned that our Conservation Areas are deteriorating, not only in terms of visual authenticity but development that does not respect the conservation area status which also reduces the financial value of properties and their neighbours. Unfortunately, although Bradford Council has professional planning and conservation staff their numbers have been reduced and their priority is the conservation/regeneration of the conservation areas at risk within the district boundaries and the 3 Ilkley areas are not considered to be at risk. Issues that concern us are-

The loss of features such as-

Replacement PVCu windows and doors (‘not recommended’ in CBMC sustainable design guide)

Dormer windows that may add internal space but can look totally out of place on historic buildings.

Blue plaques

A blue plaque at the former Rombalds Hotel is awaiting erection.

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.

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 Clean Rivers Group, Climate Action Ilkley, Olicana Historical Society, 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 although meetings are at present on hold. A video conference for member societies is likely to replace the July meeting.

2019-20 Programme and Forward Look

The 2020-21 programme will be published separately as soon as circumstances permit.

A programme of heritage guided walks will take place later in the summer if possible.

Our website is being updated and improved. Dedicated e mail addresses for committee members are now available.

Nominations for the 2021 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 History Hub

Development work continues, based at the Manor House, to set up a local hub for Ilkley. We have received further generous offers of interesting material, much of which will assist our work on planning and conservation areas, putting on exhibitions and producing publications. An offer to assist with scanning maps will be taken up when possible.

Our plans to stage the 2020 Summer Exhibition, on VE Day and VJ Day celebrations in Ilkley, are on hold. A sub group has been set up to develop this exhibition and work with local schools on this theme. Information and photographs were passed to the Ilkley Gazette for an article to coincide with VE Day.