A crumbling and disused Huddersfield church designed by a noted architect is at risk of being lost forever, conservationists are warning.
National architecture charity the Victorian Society has included the former St Andrew’s Church on Leeds Road on its Top 10 Endangered Buildings list for 2017.
The society said the building “makes rather a sad sight” surrounded by new developments including a Costa Coffee and a hotel.
The current situation at the boarded-up Grade II listed building is now “critical”, according to the society with roof tiles missing and smashed stained glass as it becomes increasingly vulnerable to damage from vandals, nesting birds and decay.
The church, dating back to 1870, was designed by William Henry Crossland who was also responsible for a host of other fine buildings including Huddersfield’s Byram Arcade.
Mr Crossland, who had been a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott, was also responsible for Rochdale Town Hall and Holloway Sanatorium in Surrey.
Victorian Society Director Christopher Costelloe said time was running out for the former St Andrew’s Church.
He said: “Such a fine Crossland church deserves so much better than what has befallen it, left forgotten at the edge of a retail park. We are still hopeful for a sensitive regeneration but time is rapidly running out to save its 19th century character and detail from being lost forever.”
Chris Marsden, chairman of Huddersfield Civic Society, said the structure of the church appeared to be sound but the roof was in a “sad state”.
He said conservationists and public organisations would like to see the building come back into use as quickly as possible.
He said: “I think there would be enormous support if it was brought back into use. It has potential but the work needs doing now.”
Mr Marsden said the church building had many fine features worth preserving, including stone carvings made by Thomas Earp of London and ‘hammerbeam roof’ which is a decorative, open timber roof truss which is typical of English Gothic architecture.
He believes the interior of the building has suffered in recent years. It is believed oak panels bearing the names of war dead are no longer present.
The former church property has previously been put up for sale and planning permission was granted in 2008 for change of use to a restaurant. Little has happened since then and it’s not clear who currently owns the building.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said the last correspondence it had received more than 10 years ago suggested that the building was owned by James Robinson Ltd.
The council spokesman added: “We have had no approaches from the company since 2008 when planning permission was granted for a change of use to a restaurant.”