Plans to knock down Wakefield church

w3361c615 Stanley St Peters Church for 'then and now' feature.
w3361c615 Stanley St Peters Church for 'then and now' feature.

VILLAGERS are fighting to stop their church from being demolished.

St Peter’s Church, in Stanley, has stood derelict for more than a decade and Wakefield Diocese has prepared a draft scheme to knock the building down.

It marks the latest chapter of the church’s story almost three years after plans to convert it into accommodation collapsed in 2009.

But residents are calling for the demolition plans to be scrapped and the landmark retained.

George Parfitt, founder of website stanleyhistoryonline.com, said: “In my opinion the church should be converted into something that can retain a memorial of the church.

“I’m realistic about it, it’s a dangerous building that needs addressing.

“But if it’s completely bulldozed I’m worried houses are going to built there on the graves of our ancestors.

“It’s an important landmark and people in Stanley need to speak out now because if we don’t what we’ve got is going to be gone with no trace, and that to me is sad.”

The church was rebuilt in 1917 by the community after a fire burned down most of the original building from 1824.

Its congregation moved out of the deteriorating building in 2001 and relocated to the church centre.

Development plans for homes were introduced in 2007 but were met by large opposition when it was unveiled that some of the church’s graves would have to be dug up for the project to go ahead.

The suggested demolition will mean an end to the church for good, but Eleanor Plant, Stanley correspondent for the Express and administrator at St Peter’s Church, said it was a long time coming after cracks in the foundations first appeared in 1930.

An open consultation detailing the plans is being held at St Peter’s Church Centre on Lake Lock Road, Stanley, from 1pm until 7pm on Monday, March 12.

Mr Parfitt and a group of other concerned residents are set to protest at the meeting.