ILKLEY has ‘a beating community heart, a business brain, culture and a good sense of humour’.

These are the among the attributes which has seen the town named as the best place to live in the North and North-east in 2021 by The Sunday Times.

And the town also won plaudits for its carbon footprint and all things eco.

Singled out for mention were Climate Action Ilkley, who have secured funding for a fleet of electric cargo bikes, and the Ilkley Clean River Campaign, who successfully secured bathing water status for the River Wharfe in Ilkley in a bid to clean up the water quality.

The news has been warmly welcomed across the town.

Ilkley’s town mayor, Councillor Mark Stidworthy, said. “This is a well-deserved accolade for our wonderful town and stands as testament to the people who work so hard for Ilkley.

“The judges’ comments recognise our well-preserved town centre with vibrant local businesses, green spaces and beautiful countryside. More importantly, they highlight a strength of purpose and wealth of engagement in the arts, culture, sport, volunteering, civic conservation, well-being and environmental activism nurtured over the years by so many in our community. Covid-19 and future changes will bring new challenges, but Ilkley people will continue to take pride in everything that is good about our town. Let’s celebrate this national recognition as a boost to help each other onwards to further success.”

Deputy mayor, Councillor Ros Brown, added: “As a town council we’re aware of the hidden hours a number of residents in our community give to serving our beautiful town and caring for its precious environment, and we’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved, including those who collect other’s litter on a regular basis.

“To everyone reading this article and considering visiting Ilkley, please can we ask you to take your litter home with you so all can enjoy our town and moors.”

Felicity Gains, manager of Ilkley Business Improvement District, said: “It is fantastic news to see Ilkley named the number one place to live in the North, Ilkley has something for everyone, making it a great place to live, work and visit.

“We fully agree that our town is made up of a vibrant business community, there is so much available with our array of independent businesses and larger chains providing a tremendous range of goods and services.

“Our high street plays such an important role within the community and it will be great to see it buzzing with activity as restrictions


“Though this year has been particularly hard for both businesses and residents alike, it’s clear to see the appeal for our town has not wavered. We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the town and seeing Ilkley thrive again.”

Owen Wells, of Ilkley Clean River Group, said: “We are pleased that Ilkley has been recognised as a wonderful place to live – and we want to make it even better by ensuring that our beautiful river is fit for residents to play and swim in, and that wildlife can thrive in its waters and on its banks.”

Strong volunteer initiatives were flagged up such as the Ilkley Great Get Together.

Becky Malby of the Great Get Together told the paper: “Ilkley’s biggest attraction is its sociability.”

The Sunday Times said: “You’ll love living here if you like the best of both worlds - a friendly connected town surrounded by spectacular scenery.”

The national newspaper named Owler Park Road in Middleton, on the sunny side of the River Wharfe, as the best address, where you can get a big detached house with moor views and within walking distance of Ilkley Golf Club.

There are no worries about air quality and Ilkley Literature Festival is a ‘don’t miss’ event as one of the best in the north.