THE future of a listed chapel which has fallen into dereliction appears uncertain.

The former Roman Catholic chapel in Bowling Cemetery, off Rooley Lane, has been vacant for more than three decades and is a sorry sight.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Shadows of its once grand and imposing presence in the grounds of the cemetery are still visible, but the roof is in a severe state of disrepair and boards are in place of what would have been ornate windows.

It is the only remaining Victorian chapel of its scale in city and over the years has been plagued by anti-social behaviour and crime. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Back in 2014, Bradford Council submitted plans to partially demolish the building to make way for a memorial garden. 

The move was designed to cut crime and the Council said it made the demolition application “with regret”.

English Heritage lodged a strong objection to the plans, which acknowledged pressures on local authority resources but said: “Listed buildings are irreplaceable assets of national importance, and they contribute greatly to people’s enjoyment of places, their sense of identity and connection with the past.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Victorian Society said its existence in the cemetery was “sufficiently unusual as to justify its retention and eventual restoration”. 

The application was withdrawn, but seven years on, there appears to be no plan for how the “irreplaceable nationally important heritage asset” - as the chapel was described by English Heritage - will be safeguarded. 

A Bradford Council spokesperson said told the Telegraph & Argus: “Bowling Cemetery chapel has been vacant since 1987 and was listed in 1988.

“The chapel has attracted anti-social behaviour over the years and we have replaced the security fencing to protect it while the future of the building is considered.

“In an ideal world this listed building would be restored and brought back into use but despite various efforts and interest over the last thirty years, nothing viable has been found.”

They added that the Council was “more than happy to discuss potential uses with any interested party”. 

A Historic England spokesperson said: “The chapel at Bowling in Bradford is listed at Grade II and, as such, should only be demolished as a last resort once all other options have been considered.”

They said the body had not heard from Bradford Council about the site since the demolition application was withdrawn and added: “We would be happy to discuss any future plans for the chapel with the Council.”