UPDATE: Voting results for ‘radical’ reorganisation of Diocese

The Diocese of Ripon and Leeds could be merged with other Yorkshire Dioceses as part of a structural shake-up.
The Diocese of Ripon and Leeds could be merged with other Yorkshire Dioceses as part of a structural shake-up.

Church leaders are split on whether the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds should be merged with two others – Bradford and Wakefield.

Votes were held simultaneously today (Saturday, March 2) in each of the three Dioceses on proposals to create a new single structure – West Yorkshire and the Dales.

Church officials of Synods in Ripon and Leeds – meeting at St Aidan’s High School in Harrogate – and Bradford voted in favour of the merger but those in Wakefield rejected the move.

The proposals involve a unitary Diocese led by a diocesan bishop based in Leeds and divided into five areas – Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield – to achieve what the Dioceses Commission Report has called “a strong element of devolution within a context of rationalisation”.

Before the vote, church authorities said should all three Synods have voted in favour of the report the new Diocese could have been launched as early as Easter 2014.

But they also said that if any Diocese voted against the scheme, as has happened, the final decision may be put to the General Synod in July by the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Dr John Sentamu.