A ward councillor says work has begun to replace the entrance to an Oakworth burial ground illegally demolished in 2008.

Worth Valley councillor Glen Miller said Bradford Council had started work on replacing the wall and gates at the entrance to Dockroyd Lane Cemetery and will be billing the person responsible for the demolition.

Initial stages of the reconstruction began on January 28 and followed many requests from residents and councillors for the historic structure to be restored.

“It has taken years for the necessary money to be identified,” he explained. “The gates will be replaced, with the help of pictures supplied by a local resident showing what they used to look like.

“I welcome the fact the wall is being put back but I’m saddened it’s taken this long to start work since the first complaint was lodged.”

The sudden demolition of the wall and gates one Saturday morning in September 2008 sparked a furious reaction from local residents.

They said it amounted to the destruction of Oakworth’s heritage, as well being disrespectful towards families with relatives buried in the cemetery.

The wall was thought to have been about 150 years old and was knocked down along with a set of ornamental metal gates. The Keighley News was unable to contact the owner of the land this week but a spokesman for Bradford Council confirmed he will be charged for the restoration.

Councillor Peter Corkindale, an Oakworth ward councillor for Keighley Town Council, said he was delighted the damage is finally being put right.

“It’s taken five years and an awful lot of lobbying from people who live here, from parish councillors and the village society,” he added. “The landowner was asked on several occasions to replace the wall and gates but failed to do so, so that’s left the Council with the only option of doing the work itself then sending him the bill.

“It’s been a major issue for people here, especially those who live either side of the gap where the wall and gates were.”