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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 2020-21, includes a statement of its accounts and outlines its proposals for 2021-22.


Officers and Executive Committee 2020-21

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, Jan Stallworthy and Ros Brown    

Examiner:    Roger Millen

Ros Brown has resigned from the executive committee due to pressure of council work. We thank her for her efforts over the last two years and wish her all the best with her council activities.  

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 2020-21


The Society continued to operate throughout the pandemic, although we are not able to meet face to face and do not yet know when we can resume normal meetings. This has probably been the strangest year the Civic Society has faced.

Committee meetings have continued on Zoom, as have a number of members’ 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.

Early in the lockdown, it was agreed by the Executive Committee not to demand annual membership subscriptions for 2020/21 as it was not clear how we would be able to arrange meetings. Subscriptions for 2021/22 have already been received from a large number of members, new and existing. Membership formally stands at over 70 and continues to rise.

Design Awards

Because of the difficulties evident in arranging the judging of design awards including site visits, all nominations for 2021 will be carried over to 2022. A presentation on the society’s design awards since the mid 1980s was made at the March members’ meeting.

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 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.


The impact of Covid on public transport this last year has been significant. The public have been discouraged from using public transport except for essential travel, social distancing has reduced the capacity of passenger trains and buses could safely carry and short notice temporary timetables had to be introduced as the country moved in and out of lockdown. Bus information systems have struggled to keep passengers informed of changes – and it has been local volunteers who have been keeping information updated at Ilkley Bus Station, for instance. Operators have worked hard to reassure passengers that public transport is safe to use, introducing additional cleaning regimes, contactless payments and other measures. As we move out of lockdown it is hoped to restore services to their normal timetables in the coming months but there have been and will be changes to operators, routes, and frequency of some services – most notably X84, 784, 962 and 62 services.  It will be interesting to see whether passengers gradually return.

Blue plaques

A blue plaque at the former Rombalds Hotel on Wells Road has been erected. We will hold an event to celebrate it as soon as pandemic restrictions are lifted Several more blue plaques are under consideration.


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 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. Future streets to be considered in this way include The Grove and Cunliffe Road and the additional theme of Ilkley schools.

Access to our storage space at the Manor House has been 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:

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 three District Councillors and our MP. We have raised a number of topical items at Parish Council meetings and via correspondence, including support for the Visitor Information Centre, the routing of the Greenway, the improvement scheme for Station Plaza, the realignment of a town centre road junction and our concerns about the function and cost of the ‘pocket park’.  

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.




2020-21 Programme and Forward Look

We will continue to play a key part in the Neighbourhood Plan as it goes forward to the final consultation and hopefully a referendum, and in the next stages of the Local Plan which is likely to be high on the 21/22 agenda.

Our plans to stage an exhibition this Summer are on hold, but we could do something quickly if an opportunity arises. 

The Local History Hub meetings will continue and develop, feeding into further heritage walks both self-guided and led.

We are currently preparing a meetings programme for 2021/22. The October and November member’s meetings are likely to take place remotely but we will aim to get back to meetings at Church House from February 2022.