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Welcome to our new members

A warm welcome to everyone who has joined us recently.

We look forward to meeting you all in person sometime soon and hope that you will enjoy and find useful those activities that you can join in with in the meantime. While we are unable to hold face-to-face meetings – everything else is progressing at full speed – especially in the fields of local history and planning policy and applications.


The retrospective 2020 AGM was held by Zoom last month. The committee was re-elected. If you haven’t seen the 2020 annual report yet please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Ros Brown has stood down from the committee, as deputy mayor of Ilkley she has found herself very busy indeed. Our thanks go to her for her contribution to the committee and to the society.

Next meetings

Members’ meeting Thursday 25th February at 7.30pm on Zoom – on Key Unlisted Buildings.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 899 2101 5022
Passcode: 227313
Meeting ID: 899 2101 5022
Passcode: 227313
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbiXMaEgmu

Any queries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.     


Local History Hub Saturday 27th February at 3pm Brook Street - latest findings

For the Zoom link please contact Alex on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Members’ meeting Thursday 25th March at 7.30pm on Zoom - on Design Awards.

Zoom link to be issued nearer the date.

The 2020/21 AGM will be held via Zoom at the end of April. There are vacancies on the committee and we would be very pleased to hear from anyone who might like to join us especially if they have skills and experience in IT, media relations/community engagement.

Station Plaza

Plans to improve the flower beds on Station Plaza are being taken forward by a new charity, called Improving Ilkley. We have some reservations about both the process and the design. If you would like to see what we have said, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Out for consultation – National Design Codes

As a follow on to last year’s Planning White Paper and consultation on permitted development, there is a central government (MHCLG) consultation on National Design Codes. This will be key to setting the national policy applicable when local authority areas start to draft their own design codes shortly. This consultation would occupy much of our waking hours if it was not for…..  



The Local Plan – next phase

The Preferred Options, Call for Sites and supplementary documents has been issued and we have to respond by 24th March 2021. The large documents are only available electronically, on the Bradford Council website, which is an issue already raised by councillors and our MP. There is a document on the sites which have been rejected which also needs scrutiny.

Four sites in Ilkley have been identified amounting to 314 homes. All but nine of these are on three green belt sites. Local district councillors held a virtual meeting on 17th February, attended by almost 100 people and the level of objection to the green belt sites at the Ben Rhydding end of town was universal. So, we are about to fight the Battle of Coutances Way all over again. We encourage members and residents to put in their comments individually, but would appreciate any useful supporting information. Discussions on Zoom are always a possibility if needed.

Also out for consultation and needing scrutiny is the Supplementary Planning Document on the South Pennines which covers Ilkley Moor.  

Neighbourhood Plan


The draft Neighbourhood Plan has now been passed by Ilkley Town Council to Bradford Council for Reg 16 consultation. The Neighbourhood Plan team members are aiming to get the Plan to a referendum to take place with the May local elections, but will not know for some weeks if this will be possible. This is frustrating, as the Neighbourhood Plan Group has put a lot of work into getting the final draft together and we want it to be an effective supplementary planning document. 



It may surprise you that planning applications are high in number at the moment. Largely these have been for home improvements and extensions, but nearly 50 new dwellings have been approved in the last two years, mostly on infill sites utilising large gardens or more drastically involving demolition. These don’t count toward the local plan totals as they are ‘windfall sites’. We would like to see this changed.  The plan to convert part of Sedbergh Buildings at the bottom of Cowpasture Road into a hotel is one that we shall watch carefully. We shall also keep an eye on shop changes to ensure that the Bradford shop front policy is taken into account, whether or not a planning application is necessary. Poor quality applications are still a regular feature that must cause delay in decisions. Poor quality flat roof dormer windows still a regular feature of planning applications.

Local History Hub


Hub meetings on Zoom have attracted a large number of people to Saturday afternoon discussion sessions and helped us fill in gaps in recent history. The first sessions on Brook Street have led to recording forgotten shops and businesses. The next sessions will concentrate on Leeds Road. See our website for dates. A collaboration with Ilkley U3A has resulted in two daytime presentations on Ilkley blue plaques to which ICS members have been invited. Several new blue plaques are under consideration and need researching. The Local History Hub now has cloud storage and we need to devise a cataloguing system for the records we store on it.

We cannot socially-distance in the Manor House attic (too small) where we have storage space so all meetings to do with cataloguing physical items (books, microfiche, pictures etc) are on hold.

War Memorial


The War Memorial at the end of The Grove is 100 years old next year. The memorial itself is in reasonable condition but we have offered to work with the town council on the gardens which need some TLC. We have suggested:

  • Some of the mature trees need pruning and then regular maintenance.
  • A purpose needs to be found for the two WW2 memorial summer houses with wooden seats, which are locked (for H&S reasons to do with the window glass being fragile?) It could be used for exhibition space, perhaps to record the lives of some of the people commemorated on the war memorial.
  • The memorial garden seating needs maintenance attention.
  • Some stonework needs cleaning, in particular the paving at the rear of the memorial.
  • In addition, some of the grass area could be planted with Spring bulbs.

Ilkley Town Council’s Green Spaces, Environment and Sustainability Committee is going to discuss these proposals shortly.

Friends of the Cemetery


The group has continued working through the winter most Tuesday afternoons and several parts of the cemetery have benefitted from a tidy up.  If you would like to join in, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

first to check on days, times, and plans as well as and to make you aware of what equipment may be required and Health and Safety matters. We now have some hi vis vests and several sets of litter pickers available.

Key Unlisted Buildings


There is a renewed interest in Local Listing of important buildings and structures in Ilkley. This is the subject of our 25th February meeting. We are gathering information on properties up to the 1960s which are of interest and should be conserved. On starting to form a ‘long list’, we discovered that the Ilkley ‘New’ Bridge is not listed. There are several pairs of gateposts still extant though the house they belonged to has been replaced. The White House at Middleton and the lesser known Fiveways at Ben Rhydding are on the long list. Historic England has not been keen to list more of Ilkley’s Victorian heritage but there may be a case to be made for particular villas. The local architect George Smith looms large in our deliberations.  If you would like to be involved in the research work behind this project please contact Alex on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Railway Road Junction


There are plans to realign this junction to make it safer for pedestrians. We have made a number of suggestions. We do not support more barriers. A revised plan is awaited from Bradford Highways.


Heritage Walks 2021


We think it is unlikely that we will be able to run a ‘traditional’ heritage walk before late Summer at the earliest, due to   the need for social distancing. We predict that Ilkley may be very busy with visitors to our town during the Summer and adding to the congestion on The Grove with a small group of people (at 2m spacing) and Alex (with a megaphone) might add to both risk and irritation. A heritage walk in Ilkley Cemetery, where there’s more space, might be a possibility.

We are not going to waste our time however. The renewed interest in Ilkley’s fine specimen trees and plants has got us thinking about a different kind of heritage walk, based specifically on blossoming trees, shrubs and spring flowers. We are going to record the peak flowering dates during this spring season and use them to create self-guided leaflets for use in Spring 2022. So, we are looking for the best red horse chestnut, exactly when the copper beech leaves are ‘copper’, when to look for witch hazel and where the best displays of snowdrops and aconites are to be found. Please let us know if you know of wisteria, acers, catkins, butterburs or spectacular rhododendrons, easily visible from the roadside. The Middleton Wood bluebells, the pink cherries on the Grove and the extraordinary Indian Bean Tree are already on the list.

Ilkley Visitor Information Centre


The VIC remains closed although we would like to see it open as soon as it is safe to do so. Funding is up for discussion again at Ilkley Town Council, which have made a significant contribution. We think that there are a number of new issues that contribute to the VIC’s future importance to Ilkley which need to be taken into account when considering future funding:

  • The expectation that the demand for foreign holidays will be somewhat depressed by Corona Virus for some time to come is likely to increase the pressure for UK-based holidays. While Ilkley may not attract huge numbers of people to its hotels, many people will visit for the day or come to stay with friends and relatives here. They will need to know where the attractions are, what’s on, how to get here (preferably by train or bus) and where to find a loo. They may arrive here at short notice when the roads into the Dales become overloaded and car parks there are full.
  • Ilkley is becoming a centre for cycle tourism – all those cyclists need directing to our many cafes and bakeries.
  • The bathing water designation for the River Wharfe is unique for an inland resort in the UK and will attract visitors to the town and river from a wide area.
  • The recent announcement that Ilkley is ranked as one of the UK’s top shopping destinations (beating Skipton and Harrogate) will attract another group of people to come and spend time and money here. (After they’ve purchased the posh frock and matching high heels they too will need a coffee and luxury gateaux or a vegan beanfeast)

We have written to Ilkley Town Council to ensure that these points are taken into account.


ICS Executive Committee

Chair Helen Kidman   Vice Chair Alex Cockshott (Local History Hub)

Hon Treasurer Brian Mann   Hon Secretary Kate Brown

Committee: David Blackburn and Anthony Barnett (planning), Graham Peacock

(transport issues), Jan Stallworthy (cemetery), Denise Shillitoe ( local history hub).