ILKLEY Parish Council has passed a resolution that it should have the status of a Town Council.

The resolution, made at a meeting of Ilkley Parish Council on Monday, will take effect from May 21, 2018, at the start of the 2018/19 council meeting year.

Chairman of the council Cllr Steve Butler said: "I wanted this decision to be made in front of a large audience of Ilkley towns people, so that it would be seen that we were taking the matter seriously."

The resolution was proposed by Cllr Butler and seconded by Cllr Mark Stidworthy, who stressed the need to avoid confusion about the role of the Parish Council. He said: "Many people still think we only represent a parish, something to do with a church, but are confused because there are three different church parishes in Ilkley."

After contributions from other councillors the resolution was carried with all councillors present voting in favour except for one abstention.

There is little practical difference between a Town and Parish Council except that Town Councils appoint a Town Mayor to chair their meetings and lead the Council generally, as well as a Deputy Mayor. Cllr Butler told the Gazette: "It is a question of perception - the perception of how we are seen by other organisations and government bodies and of how we see ourselves."

At the meeting the Parish Council paid tribute to the volunteers in Ilkley who contribute to the brilliant arts scene in town. There were many invited guests from the arts world as well as the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Abid Hussain, and Deputy Lieutenant Roger Whitaker. Among the groups in attendance were the Upstagers, The Ilkley Playhouse, Ilkley Camera Club, Ilkley Arts and Ilkley Choral Society. Cllr Butler said: "None of these organisations could function without the large number of amateur groups and organisations which run them and make use of them, all run by hard working volunteers."

After the meeting guests were treated to a showcase of Ilkley Arts. There was a short performance by the Two Rivers Wind Quartet; dramatic Christmas Readings from Andrew Leggott and Geraldine Woodhouse; an exhibition by Ilkley Camera Club, and a flower arrangement created by Annette Ackroyd of Ilkley Flower Club, all of which were followed by a beautiful rendition of two flamenco pieces by local guitarist Samuel Moore.

After the entertainment guests enjoyed food and drink in the annual celebration of the Christmas season given by the Parish, soon to be Town, Council.