The Church of England has backed plans to axe three dioceses – including Bradford’s – and create a new “super diocese” in their place.

Members of the General Synod, the Church’s national assembly, approved a draft scheme to dissolve the existing dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield.

The dioceses will be replaced by a single new diocese of Leeds, with a working name of West Yorkshire and the Dales. The move means the Bishop of Bradford, the Right Rev Nick Baines, will lose his job.

But Bishop Baines still welcomed the change, saying: “I’m delighted that the General Synod has shown vision for change and demonstrated confidence in the Church of England in West Yorkshire and the Dales to shape its future ministry and mission.

“The hard work now begins. With gratitude for all that lies behind, I now look forward with confidence to all that lies ahead.”

Under the scheme, there will be a new bishop, the Bishop of Leeds, with two new area bishops, of Bradford and Huddersfield.

The three existing cathedrals of Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield will remain cathedrals, with Leeds parish church, known as Leeds Minster, made a “pro-cathedral”.

All the diocesan synods affected by the scheme gave consent to the reorganisation, apart from Wakefield.

The earliest possible date for the new diocese to come into effect is January 1.

Bishop Baines added: “As the detailed work to see the new diocese into being goes on, it will be a challenging time, but also, particularly as the Church of England has never done this sort of work before, a time pregnant with opportunity.

“In the meantime, while the 'plumbing' is being re-routed, our churches will be unaffected by the changes going on around them – the dedicated worship, discipleship, social and pastoral care will continue. And the communities we serve can be confident that, once through, this change will serve them better than can the status quo.”

Prof Michael Clarke, chairman of the dioceses commission which drew up the scheme, insisted the changes were not a criticism of the dioceses.