25th March, 2018. ‘A Pressing Issue’.

‘A Pressing Issue’ is the title of a short article in Pinnacle, the latest members magazine of the Churches Conservation Trust. The article summarises the initial decisions of the Taylor Review: Sustainability of English churches and cathedrals. As I had not previously known of the Taylor Review and as I think this is such an important issue for our historic buildings in the 21st century I read on. The article summarised the problem ‘The issue is that fewer people are going to church and congregations are ageing(hardly a new realisation) … 45 per cent of all Grade 1 buildings (the highest listing for historic buildings) are parish churches’.

The article then summarised the Review’s three recommendations; (a) the creation of Fabric Support Officers who will offer practical advice to parishes on the condition of their churches and help create a plan for maintaining and repairing them, (b) the creation of Community Support Officers who will help parishes engage with their local community and enable the church building to be more readily used by the local community for a wide variety of purposes, (c) the creation of a minor and major repairs fund to support the care of the fabric in a more systematic way across the country.

The Churches Conservation Trust supports these ideas and the article goes on to state how the Trust has been trying to achieve this conservation objective over the past 50 years. The Churches Conservation Trust looks after 352 redundant church buildings – there are over 16000 parish churches in Britain, although no-one would expect every one of these to be preserved for ever, criteria must be defined soon.

(To be continued).

The picture is taken from the article and shows a detail of the eaves, supporting timber and roof tiles of the church of All Saints, Little Wenham.