A LISTED building could be knocked down in a move designed to cut crime at a problem hotspot where a "staggering" number of offences have been committed.
Plans have been submitted by Bradford Council for the partial demolition of the crime-ridden former Roman Catholic chapel at Bowling Cemetery, Rooley Lane, Bradford, to make way for the creation of a memorial garden.
The derelict Grade II listed chapel, built more than a century ago, has been vacant since 1987 and has become a magnet for "serious and persistent" crime, while also consuming public resources, according to the planning application report.
It reveals that Bowling Cemetery has been hit by vandalism of numerous grave stones, muggings and assaults in recent months, with what the report described as a "staggering"15 offences being recorded at the site by West Yorkshire Police between February 1 and July 31 this year.
In May 2007, vandals were blamed for a fierce fire at the historic chapel.
Earlier this year, Bradford Council sent emails to groups, such as Friends of Bowling Park, potentially interested in taking on the chapel but no-one took up the offer.
In the design access and heritage statement, prepared by William Cartwright, of Heritage Planning Design, said: "It is with regret that this application for demolition is made.
"The proposal will cause substantial harm to its special interest.
"For 27 years, the chapel has consumed public resources. It is clearly in the public interest to now find a long-term and sustainable solution for this building.
"The existing situation is unsatisfactory and not sustainable.
"Bowling Cemetery and its chapel have been subject to persistent and serious crime and anti-social behaviour.
"The proposal will not eliminate but is expected to substantially reduce opportunities for crime and anti-social behaviour.
"The chapel is a threat to the on-going use and maintenance of the cemetery that must be addressed."
The building was Grade II listed in May 1988 and was part of the original design of the cemetery that dates back to 1886 but plans for the building were not approved until 1891 and was built sometime between 1893 and 1908.
Councillor Rizwana Jamil (Lab, Bowling and Barkerend) has backed the plans for the demolition of the chapel if it improves the surrounding area.
She said: "If it's going to bring the building into some kind of use and enhance and improve the area, then it's a good idea.
"It needs to benefit and improve the area for the people who use the cemetery."
Martin Dixon, 55, of Pembroke Street, West Bowling, a frequent visitor to the cemetery, added: "I think it's a good idea to demolish it.
"It's an eyesore. It would be sad to see it go, but it's got to go.
"All of my family are buried here. It's about time that it was demolished before somebody gets injured."