Legacy plan after Wakefield church is axed

Stanley St Peter's Church has stood empty for 10 years.
Stanley St Peter's Church has stood empty for 10 years.
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Ideas are being sought to create a lasting legacy after a landmark Grade II listed church is demolished.

The Wakefield Diocese has authorised the controversial demolition of Stanley St Peter’s Church, which has stood empty for 10 years.

It is set to be knocked down in the new year.

Action groups and heritage organisations had called on Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, to order a public inquiry.

But Last December, Church Of England bosses confirmed that the demolition would go ahead after Mr Pickles decided not to take the matter any further.

The case was referred to his department by the Victorian Society and Ancient Monuments Society.

After demolition, the land will become part of the churchyard and church leaders have invited residents to come forward with ideas of what they want to see there.

The war memorial will be preserved on site and a number of ideas have already been suggested, including a wild flower garden, a prayer path and picnic area with seating.

Stanley St Peter’s vicar Bill Henderson, said: “Although it will be very sad to lose the old church, this is a great opportunity for the whole village to come together and decide what they want on the site that will be a legacy for Stanley and a lasting memory for all of us, for now, and for our future generations.”

The village consultation will go on until the new year when it is planned to hold an exhibition of the most popular ideas for people to review and comment on before a final decision is made.

A public drop-in event will be held from 12pm to 7pm on Tuesday October 29 at St Peter’s Church Centre on Lock Lane, Stanley.

Anyone wishing to air their views can also you can email ideas to legacy@stpeters-stanley.org.uk.

VALUABLE CARVINGS MISSING

STANLEY St Peter’s was at the centre of a row after conservationists accused the church of failing to protect rare and valuable carvings.

Oak misericords – seat-style supports for people standing a long time – which were crafted in the 1920s by Halifax woodcarver HP Jackson, disappeared from the building last year.

They depict the ‘16 stages of creation’ and are thought to be the only set of its kind in the world. Church officials reported them as stolen but it was later revealed they were taken by a contractor who had permission to be inside the church and to remove some items. The church said the contractor did not have permission to remove the misericords. Some ended up on eBay and others at an auction house. Some of the misericords were recovered.

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