A campaign to save a rare Second World War pillbox near the site of a former Steeton munitions factory has gained the building official protection.

The two-storey brick structure — said to be one of only four in the country — has now been designated a Grade Two listed building by English Heritage. Two other pillboxes on the site, which are single-storey and technically known as “fire posts”, have also been listed, though they are more common nationally.

All three were built as defences for the village’s Royal Ordnance Factory and manned by a factory-based Home Guard unit.

The pillboxes are off Thornhill Road, where planning permission has been given to developer Skipton Properties to build 229 homes.

Since the building application was made public, Keighley and District Local History Society has campaigned to ensure the two-storey pillbox is retained.

On Sunday, Oakworth resident Andy Wade, who applied to English Heritage for listed status on behalf of the history society, confirmed the request had been granted.

He described the result as “wonderful news” adding that the protection became valid from December 16.

In their assessment, the English Heritage officers wrote that the larger pillbox was an “extremely rare variant” and was enhanced by the presence of the two smaller fortifications.

History society chairman Laurence Brocklesby said he was delighted adding the emphasis must now switch to finding a way of restoring and maintaining the pillboxes.

Skipton Properties had no comment to make to the |KN.