The chairman of a Keighley history group says he is concerned about the future of a defensive pillbox, dating from the Second World War.

Laurence Brocklesby, of Keighley and District Local History Society, has asked for an assurance that the structure in a field at Steeton will be retained.

It is located on a site where 229 homes are planned to be built by developer Skipton Properties. The firm won permission for the development off Thornhill Road earlier this month, despite strong objections from many Steeton residents.

Mr Brocklesby said: “I was told by a Skipton Properties representative that the largest of the three pillboxes on the site would be preserved, though it may be in one of the new house’s gardens. This is, as far as we know, the only two-storey pillbox in Yorkshire and possibly in England. It should be preserved as it is part of our country’s history.”

He said the brick and concrete pillbox dates from when Steeton was the home of a Second World War munitions factory. He said the fortification was built to defend the factory in the event of a German invasion.

He said he understood there were two other pillboxes in the area but noted these single-storey structures were much more common nationally.

He added: “We’d be disappointed if the two-storey one is knocked down.

“We’d like to get it listed if possible.”

One condition of the planning permission for the development is that Skipton Properties undertakes “archaeological recording” before any demolition of a pillbox. During the application process, the developer proposed retaining one pillbox that would be in a public, open space once the houses were built.