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

The two-storey brick structure – said to be one of only four in the UK – has now been designated a Grade Two listed building by English Heritage.

Two other pillboxes on the site, which are single-storey, have also been listed, though they are not quite so rare.

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

The site was used by American director John Schlesinger to shoot scenes for the 1979 film Yanks, charting life on a US army base and in the nearby English community.

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.

Members of the Haworth Home Guard re-enactment group also voiced their support for the preservation effort.

This week, Andy Wade, who applied to English Heritage for listed status on behalf of the history society, confirmed the request had been granted.

He said: “The two-storey pillbox is a type 24 and one of only four known examples in the country.

“The protection became valid from December 16 and the document is signed by Nick Bridgland of English Heritage, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport.”

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 that all three structures would be safeguarded.

He said he could remember locally-based soldiers incorporating them into training exercises during the Second World War.

He said the emphasis must now switch to finding a way of restoring and maintaining the pillboxes, which are in a dilapidated condition.

Skipton Properties did not want to comment.