CHURCH leaders have voted to receive nine ‘Yorkshire’ parishes into Blackburn Diocese.

Plans have been drawn up for a new ‘super-diocese’ for West Yorkshire, which left the future of 13 parishes in the Craven Archdeaconry, located in Lancashire, up in the air.

The parishes of Barnoldswick, Bracewell, Earby and Kelbrook are set to remain on the White Rose side of the boundary and will form part of a new Ripon episcopal area.

But the likes of Hurst Green, Mitton, Waddington, Grindleton, Bolton by Bowland and Gisburn were overwhelming accepted into Blackburn Diocese during the vote on Saturday.

104 members voted in favour of the move, while one member voted against and one abstained.

Research undertaken by the Church of England, as part of the reorganisation, showed that the majority of the Ribble Valley churches tended to look more towards Clitheroe and Blackburn for local services.

A spokesman for the Blackburn Diocese said: “The synod took the decision to welcome the parishes having reviewed a report by the Dioceses Commission which recommended they should move into the Blackburn Diocese.

“The report stated the parishes were a ‘coherent pastoral and geographical grouping’ and moving them, and other parishes around the edges of the proposed West Yorkshire and the Dales Diocese, would help ‘to bring all diocesan boundaries more in line with county boundaries and bringing the church’s structures closer to those of civic society.”

Rev John Brocklehurst of St Helens Church in Waddington said his parish had ‘mixed feelings’ about the move after voting against the plans.

He said: “As a parish we have very mixed feelings about the move.

"It’s painfully really as we voted against it.

“I can see it is a good idea for the three Dioceses to merge but, as a rural parish, there may be more possibilities for us if we were not to move into the Diocese of Blackburn.”

Bishop of Bradford, the Right Rev Nick Baines, has said his synod’s result was ‘an encouraging result’.

But the proposals are to be finally ruled upon by Archbishop of York John Sentamu in July after the Wakefield Diocese disagreed with the ‘super-diocese’ concept.