‘My shrinking village needs its identity protecting’

Don Watson of Alverthorpe Church says Alverthorpe parish is shrinking and losing its community and identity. New signs have just been put up placing his house and part of the former Alverthorpe Parish officially in Wrenthorpe instead.
Don Watson of Alverthorpe Church says Alverthorpe parish is shrinking and losing its community and identity. New signs have just been put up placing his house and part of the former Alverthorpe Parish officially in Wrenthorpe instead.

Alverthorpe is gradually shrinking away, according to a parishioner.

Don Watson, who has been involved in Alverthorpe Church for several years, says the traditional parish area has got smaller and smaller over the decades and fears the suburb is losing its community and identity.

Mr Watson said signs welcoming people to Alverthorpe had recently been put up close to the new Lindale Park housing estate along Batley Road, heading towards thc city.

But they mean part of the old parish area - including his street Lindale Mount - are excluded from the Alverthorpe zone.

Mr Watson said: “It has taken that corner of housing [where Batley Road meets Wrenthorpe Lane] out of Alverthorpe. I just think it is a bit odd.

“Alverthorpe is very much shrinking away.

“And one of the most disappointing things is that it seems to be losing its community atmosphere.”

Mr Watson said Alverthorpe was originally a township, bordering Wakefield at Magdalene Bridge near Westgate.

In the 1680s it merged with Thornes to become Alverthorpe Cum Thornes and was bigger than Wakefield.

Mr Watson said: “Until Wakefield became a city in 1888 Alverthorpe covered a large area.

“Then the city began to pinch bits of it back becaue of its cathedral status.

“Alverthorpe was bigger than Wakefield until 1906.

Its North Eastern border was marked by a beck running from junction 41 of the M1 motorway to Ings Road and its South Western edge was marked by a beck running from near Queen’s Drive, Ossett to the River Calder and then on to Ings Road.

Mr Watson said several boundary changes over the years had led to Alverthorpe gradually becoming more “diminished”.

He said land which formerly was the site of Alverthorpe Hall was named Flanshaw, after the Second World War, whilst land previously called Silcoates was eventually merged to become part of Wrenthorpe.

The former rugby league referee, who ran the line at Wembley 30 years ago during the Halifax and St Helens final, said that where the Aldi supermarket is was also once in Alverthorpe but the site is classed as Flanshaw.

He quipped: “In the event that Wrenthorpe continues to grow, how soon will it be before the whole of Wakefield MDC becomes Wrenthorpe MDC?”