THE future of a crumbling church in Stacksteads will be discussed at a public meeting later this month.

Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale, organised the meeting after ongoing concerns about the future of the former Waterbarn Chapel – a Grade II listed building which has been derelict for about 15 years.


Property developer Laurence Daw is due to attend, where he will be invited to discuss plans for the property, which he bought for near £50,000 last year.

The site also includes Waterbarn Recreation Ground – previously used by Stacksteads Cricket Club.

Mr Berry said: “I know this is something residents are concerned about and it will be a good opportunity for everyone to get together and discuss the plans. “The building has such enormous potential and I would love to see it back in use for the local community.”

Mr Daw, who says his Daw Development Ltd has various projects in London and Manchester, declined to comment when contacted by the Lancashire Telegraph yesterday.

But he has previously expressed desire to bring the building back into community use, and hoped to submit proposals to the council this year.

There have been concerns about the safety of the 164-year-old Victorian church and its cemetery walls for many years, and residents even hired a civil engineer in 2010 to conduct an assessment on it.

And when its roof collapsed in 2011, calls for the building to be saved intensified.

Fencing has since been erected around the site, but residents are still concerned about the perceived lack of action.

Meanwhile, a group of residents has submitted a formal application to register Waterbarn Recreation Ground as a village green, which could prevent any development on the field.

Keith Loughlin, one of the group, said: “The application is waiting for registration and there would then be a consultation. “But it would negate any development on that [part of the] site.”

Rossendale Councillor Jacqueline Oakes added: “I would be delighted to find a solution that pleases everyone.”