Views wanted over merged Yorkshire diocese

Wakefield Cathedral The area's three cathedrals will remain

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Plans for the merger of three Yorkshire diocese have gone out to consultation.

The three separate areas of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield would become one under the plans.

Within the new diocese there would be five areas - Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield - each with its own area bishop.

A six-month formal consultation on the proposals has begun. The plan will not be debated by the General Synod until late 2013 or early 2014.

The Dioceses Commission said it had accepted the consensus that the new diocese should be called Leeds, rather than Wakefield, and that it may be known informally as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

Professor Michael Clarke, chairman of the commission, said: "There has been a general welcome for the main thrust of our proposals, namely the dissolution of the existing dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield, and the creation of a new diocese in their place.

"Our vision of a new diocese more aligned to today's communities, with reconfigured episcopal ministry closer to the parishes, and a streamlined administration, has clearly struck chords with many.

"We have nevertheless listened carefully to what we have been told and our draft reorganisation scheme includes a number of important changes."

The commission said it estimated that the new diocese would cost about £800,000 a year less than the current structure, however it said the plan was "mission-led and not finance-driven".

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