Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Notes of a meeting between CCCBR, EH and CBC representatives

A meeting took place on 11 October 2010 at Church House, Westminster, between representatives of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and officers of the Church Buildings Council and English Heritage.

CBC: David Knight
EH: Diana Evans, Graham Pledger
CCCBR: Alan Frost, Mary Bone
Apologies were received from the CCCBR President and Vice-President for their unavoidable absence at short notice; Tony Smith due to business commitments and Kate Flavell due to her mother being admitted to hospital that morning.

1. Bell frame recording guidance:
CBC presented the revised draft of the guidance notes for identifying historic significance and preparing reports, and an initial flow chart to accompany the guidance. Both CCCBR and EH suggested amendments; CBC undertook to include these and then to circulate the latest version. It is hoped that the final document will be approved by the end of 2010. It will then be published on the Churchcare and EH websites and a note circulated to DACs and bell advisers.

2. Training in bell frame recording (Douglas Kent, SPAB, was present for this item):
The April meeting recognised that recording training would be needed once the recording guidance has been approved. Opportunities for training would be promoted regionally, and it was especially hoped that DAC advisers, or other representatives, and guild or association advisers would be able to attend, as well as others with an interest in the subject. EH suggested that at least one person in every diocese or guild should be trained to conduct initial frame appraisals with fewer people trained to conduct the more detailed levels of recording. EH also suggested that training should be aimed at young volunteers and that a pilot project should produce a toolkit. Given their experience with the Faith in Maintenance project, it is hoped that SPAB will prepare a funding bid.

3. DAC Bell Advisers Conference:
The next conference is expected to be held on Wednesday 8 June 2011 at Southwell Minster.

4. DAC and Association Bell Advisers’ role:
EH understands that the DAC Bell Advisers’ primary role is to alert the DAC to the implications of new proposals, especially the impact they might have on historic fabric and is concerned that this is not always recognised. EH pointed out that there is no specific guidance to help Bell Advisers fulfil their role. The Association Advisers can represent the ringers’ particular perspective. CCCBR considers there are many other equally important aspects to the DAC Bell Advisers’ role. CBC noted that the Guidelines on the Role of DAC Advisers are available on the Churchcare website which gives considerable general guidance for specialist DAC advisers; there are currently no plans to produce specific guidance for particular specializations such as bell advisers.

5. Heritage Protection reform:
The revised Ecclesiastical Exemption (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Order 2010 came into force on 1 October. The Guidance is available on the DCMS website at www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/OPSEEguidance.pdf.
Planning Policy Statement 5, published in March, introduced the concept of significance with which churches are already familiar. It also effected changes regarding demolition and management of independently listed ecclesiastical structures within the curtilage of places of worship under Ecclesiastical Exemption.

6. Places of Worship EH grant conditions:
EH noted that the current conditions for recipients of grants to notify EH of further work were published in the Appendix to New Work in Historic Places of Worship (p14), available at www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/new-work-in-historic-places-of-worship/placesofworshipweb.pdf.
The requirement to notify ceases 10 years after the last grant payment. The previous condition, requiring grant recipients to seek EH approval for subsequent work, no longer applies, subject to the requirements of the Faculty Jurisdiction Measure.

7. Updates on particular cases:
a) Great Malvern: EH updated CBC and CCCBR on the latest outline proposals for a scheme to repair the existing frame; they remain concerned that the project is not being developed in accordance with the issues discussed at the Consistory Court. [see Mark Regan’s letter, The Ringing World, p986].
b) North Scarle: EH had received a revised scheme from the parish in early October and discussions were continuing.

8. Listed Places of Worship grant scheme:
Changes to the VAT refund scheme for work on bells, pews, organs etc with effect from 4 January 2011 were noted. CBC and EH urged ringers to lobby their MPs to campaign for the continuation of the scheme after its current expiry date in March 2011, using the sample letter and EH research available at www.savetherefund.info [The Ringing World, pp1031 and 1055]. (Post-meeting note: It has since been announced the scheme will continue for a further 4 years from April 2011 – see www.lpwscheme.org.uk).

9. Central Council Open Meeting:
CCCBR, EH and CBC continue to explore the possibility of holding an Open Meeting in 2012 during the CCCBR Annual General Meeting weekend. (Post-meeting note: EH advise that in view of the 32% cut in their funding announced in the recent spending review, they can give no commitments).

The next meeting will be held on Monday 11 April 2011 at Church House.

Mary Bone
October 2010

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