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Last May it was my privilege and honour to be elected by the Council as its chairman, for the fourth time in my 23 years as an Ilkley parish councillor, a role that has always been very important to me, as I know it is to all those who serve as members. I should like to thank all Councillors and Council staff for their hard work and support.

During the last Council year I have had pleasure in attending many events organised by the Council and by other groups. Events don’t just happen; they require planning, time and serious input. I often look at what we do as a small town and wonder what would happen if volunteers didn’t get involved as they thankfully do to make things happen. I believe in this parish we are well served by the very many people who believe in a “working for the common good” ethic and their work in the community is much appreciated by this council.

Planning has always been a subject that this Council takes very seriously and invests a lot of time in. The workload for planning Chairman Cllr Walbank and his committee seems to grow year on year and the last twelve months have been no exception. Work has started on developing a neighbourhood plan for Ilkley, with a public meeting on 16th April. A public consultation meeting was held in respect of Bradford Council’s Local Plan on the 29th January, attended by around 200 people. Response forms were widely distributed to the public; these were collated and submitted as a response from Ilkley.

Financial assistance and support has been granted to a wide range of local organisations during the year, through the Awards and Projects committee, whose thorough scrutiny of applications ensures that Council money is used to good effect. Some sixty thousand pounds from the Parish precept will go directly back to the community in 2014/2015.

The Tour de France will pass through Ilkley on 5th July 2014, an enormous honour for the town. The Council is liaising with Bradford Council and “Welcome to Yorkshire” and encouraging local people to hold events on the day. Ilkley has obtained “Hub status” which means additional support will be available for the large number of visitors expected. The “Darwin gardens” achieved another well-deserved Green Flag award this year and work has been carried out on refurbishing the information boards.

Christmas and town lights have again been a very important part of the street scene in the centre and in Ben Rhydding. They have provided much pleasure and positive comment since their introduction.

Following a decision by Bradford Council to close Ilkley’s Manor House museum, the Parish Council decided in March to contribute £13,000 in 2014 / 15 towards the running costs of the museum, this being approximately half the cost required for one year’s normal operation. The Council will work with Bradford MDC to secure a long-term future for the museum, and has granted £1,000 to the friends of the Manor House to begin the process of producing a sustainable plan for its future.

Sadly I note the death of former Parish Council chairman Alec Henderson, he served for many years on the Council and was Chairman twice, ably supported by his wife Doreen; and the death of Mr Jim Bray, who was the holder of a Certificate of merit from the Council for his services to the community. Finally I should like to reflect on the importance of commemorating the outbreak of war in 1914, the beginning of a conflict that devastated not only our nation but also the world. Words cannot express the horror of the losses that were sustained and the debt owed by us all for our future. I know we as a Council have the beginning of plans to recognise the commemoration, and we should like to hear from anyone who may have additional input to offer.


Cllr Mike Gibbons

Chairman of Ilkley Parish Council

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 19:40