A FORMER cricket ground in Stacksteads is up for grabs - but any potential new owner will have to stump up £50,000.

Waterbarn Recreation Ground, previously used by Stacksteads Cricket Club, comes with a pavillion and pitch.

The 3.5 acre site also includes Grade-Two listed Waterbarn Baptist Church and a community centre. The lot is set to go under the hammer next month.

The chapel in Brandwood Road has deteriorated since its congregation met there for the final time in May 2010.

After its roof collapsed in October 2011, a wall surrounding the graveyard outside the church has also fallen down, leading to calls for its absent owners to act.

The church was built in 1847 and became listed in 1984 before closing in 2010 due to dwindling attendances.

Ron Ashworth, ex-president of Stacksteads Cricket Club, described the land and buildings being auctioned off as a sad but inevitable outcome.

He said: “The chapel has been listed without any provisions for their maintenance, and have been subsequently left to fall into a terrible state by the absentee landlord.

“I’ve no idea what will happen with the chapel if it’s sold, because it’s totally enclosed by graves and it would be a very big, expensive job to move them, if they even can be moved.

“But it would be good to see the chapel brought into some kind of use.

“I, and many local residents, would like to see the old cricket ground kept for recreational use, even if it’s used for junior football.”

Coun Jimmy Eaton said the site has been a dangerous eyesore for many years.

He said: “I just hope that whoever buys it does something with it to make it look better for the area.

“I’m sure the local residents will be happy to hear that something might be happening with it now.

“However I don’t know what they will do with the graves.”

In a report, Eddisons Property Auctions in Leeds, describes the site as: “A vacant former church in need of significant modernisation, with an adjoining former cricket ground and associated buildings, with the potential for redevelopment, subject to obtaining the necessary consents.”

The auction is on Tuesday, April 8.