An historic Haworth building which was at risk of being sold off to developers has won a reprieve.

Campaigners have been working to save the Old School Room, which is the only building in Haworth to have been designed and constructed by the Rev Patrick Bronte, father of the famous sisters.

The Church Street property is owned by Haworth Parish Church, but it is in urgent need of restoration. Dry rot was discovered in the building’s roof space in June.

A committee called Bronte Spirit has been investigating how to drum up support for the expensive project.

It has been estimated that nearly £1 million is needed to repair and refurbish the roof.

On Monday, a spokesman for the group said: “Following a series of crisis meetings between the church’s parochial council and Bronte Spirit, it was decided last week that enough potential support had been received for the restoration project to continue for the time being.

“At a meeting last Wednesday it was agreed that archaeologist Dr Angela Redmond, one of the current directors of Bronte Spirit, would lead the project, that the planned application for charitable status would continue and that discussions with two organisations are to be explored.”

Dr Redmond, who had been employed by Bronte Spirit when an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was being advanced in 2008, said: “We believe that the building has a future with a role in the community and that’s something we’ll be exploring in the next few weeks.

“We were concerned that the lack of funds and support were threatening the project. But we’ve been encouraged by our initial discussions with organisations and individuals who want the Old School Room to be restored and remain true to Patrick Bronte’s vision of having a building available for public good.

“We don’t want to say publicly which organisations have been in touch with us because negotiations are at a delicate stage. No doubt if those discussions are successful it will be possible to make appropriate announcements later.”

The Rev Peter Mayo Smith, the priest in charge at Haworth Parish Church, said: “We’re exploring every avenue and, although we recognise that these are not easy economic times, we believe that it could be possible to secure enough grants to enable us to restore and develop the building as a community asset.

“None of us really wanted to sell the building but we have been in real danger of having to take that drastic step. Fortunately, we have been able to step back from that brink.”