AN MP is demanding that a church war memorial be saved from demolition.

Sir David Crausby is urging Bolton Council to protect the war memorial at Birtenshaw Methodist Church, which is expected to be torn down as part of plans to open a new Retreat restaurant in Bromley Cross.

While the Bolton North East MP says he has no objection to the church and adjacent village hall being redeveloped, he has urged town hall bosses to preserve the memorial for future generations.

Sir David said: “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and it is right that we honour the sacrifices made by local residents.

“Some local families will be able to find the names of their relatives at Birtenshaw. Public commemorations are our way to share this part of our history with future generations.

“It would be a tremendous shame if the window and plaques were destroyed and I sincerely hope that the planning committee will act to preserve them.”

The memorial includes a stained glass window, tiling and two plaques, which list the names of 135 local people who served in the First World War — 22 of whom lost their lives in the conflict.

Richard Hibbert, Retreat company director, said that the memorial would ‘100 per cent’ be saved and that arrangements would be made with Bolton Council and the War Memorials Trust over where it can be relocated to.

The War Memorials Trust had also contacted Bolton Council to ask for the memorial to be saved, and expressed their disappointment that they were not consulted at any point during the planning process.

Planning committee members are due to decide this afternoon on whether the village hall in Darwen Road can be converted into a new Retreat bar and grill and the church demolished to make way for a car park.

The main church hall was built in 1875 and the village hall dates back to 1888. Both closed last year.

A council spokesman said that councillors would be made aware of the MP’s comments and how the memorial could be protected ahead of the meeting.

Sir David previously fought a successful campaign to have the Dunscar war memorial listed after a developer sought to use the land for housing.

To follow live coverage of today’s planning committee meeting at 2pm from the town hall, visit