A LANDMARK historic Ilkley house has been upgraded to the highest grade of listed building on the advice of English Heritage.

Heathcote, on Kings Road, Ilkley, designed by renowned British Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, has been upgraded to the highest Grade I by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, celebrating this unique piece of Yorkshire’s history as exceptionally important, both architecturally and historically.

There have been local calls in recent years for greater protection of the house, as number of planning applications for the hall and the buildings in its grounds went before Bradford Council.

Built as a family home in extensive gardens, the 1906-9-built mansion was for many years the base of major Ilkley-based company NG Bailey.

It is now a private residence, and English Heritage says the currect owner plans to return it to use a family home.

Proposals include the restoration of rooms which have been used as offices – including the notable billiard room and library.

Part of the garden will additionally be reinstated to reveal the original impact of Lutyens’ vision.

English Heritage says Heathcote represents an important turning point in the distinguished career of Edwin Lutyens, who as one of Britain’s most highly regarded architects already had many listed buildings to his name, including the moving Cenotaph in London, the focus of First World War centenary commemorations this year.

In the designs for Heathcote, Lutyens for the first time fully embraced the more challenging Classical form of architecture and using his incredible flair for creativity, he produced a formal yet imaginative family home. The house, which remains largely unaltered, has a sumptuous feel, with its impressive craftsmanship and high quality materials, including a grand black marble staircase, a walnut panelled billiard room and beautiful coloured marble floors and fireplaces individually designed for each room.

Nick Bridgland, English Heritage Designation Team Leader in the North said: “Heathcote is a tour de force of creative genius. It is not only a pivotal point in the career of one of England's most celebrated architects but is also a highly accomplished suburban house on a grand, impressive scale.

“From the pioneering purpose built motor-house to the china cabinets, Heathcote combines a boldness and architectural creativity with careful attention to detail which, despite some alterations, can still be seen very clearly today. It fully deserves the honour of being listed in the highest possible grade.”

Heathcote was listed as Grade II* in 1979 and its upgrade to Grade I marks it as of exceptional national and international importance.