Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Notes of a meeting between CCCBR, EH and CBC representatives

A meeting took place on Monday 11 April 2011 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: Tony Smith, Kate Flavell, Mary Bone
The meeting was chaired by Tony Smith.

1.Matters arising from previous meeting notes (RW, 10 Dec):
(a) The meeting noted Mark Regan’s response (RW, 7 Jan) and welcomed his endorsement of the CBC code of practice The conservation and repair of bells and bell frames, which can be downloaded from www.churchcare.co.uk/pdf_view.php?id=14.
(b) CBC clarified that the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme in effect from April 2011 will continue to exclude work on bells.
(c) CCCBR explained that no Open Meeting would be held in 2011; the meeting agreed to keep this under review.

2. DAC bell advisers conference:
CBC would welcome applications to attend the Southwell conference from association advisers, especially if the local DAC adviser is unable to attend. [CCCBR forwarded details by email to English territorial societies.]

3. Bell frame recording guidance:
CBC reported that the guidance was now complete with only minor editing still required [see the consultation document at www.churchcare.co.uk/pdf_view.php?id=203]. The final document would be available online.

4. Training in bell frame recording (Douglas Kent, SPAB, was present for this item):
SPAB reported on development of a project to train volunteers in bell frame recording which would seek funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project now included proposals for a register of bell frames as this would make it more attractive to potential sponsors. CCCBR reported that the Towers & Belfries Committee planned a seminar on 24 September to train attendees in tower inspections. The meeting agreed that the bell historians email list could be a suitable place to advertise training events.

5. English Heritage & the Comprehensive Spending Review:
EH stated that they were committed to maintaining frontline services and providing expertise following the announcement of a 32% cut in their government grant.

6. Heritage Protection Reform update:
CBC pointed out that a number of provisions in the Localism Bill might affect PPS5 (www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/1514132.pdf).

7. Thefts of Bells:
CBC reported on responses to David Knight’s letter (RW, 12 Nov 2010, p 1130); it appeared that most bells were stolen from ground level and that this coincided with the large number of thefts of metal generally. David intended to write to The Ringing World to summarise the responses.

8. Redundant Churches:
CCCBR expressed concern about a number of cases, such as Hanley, where bells remained in redundant churches. CBC stated that the Church of England remains opposed to the removal of church fittings, including bells, prior to the closure of a church. CBC noted that Pastoral Measure Reports are now only available online (www.churchcare.co.uk/legal.php?GR).

9. Updates on particular cases:
Great Malvern: both EH and CBC had attended a meeting on 24 February. EH were pleased that a repair scheme by Bell Johnson has been accepted by the parish and ringers and hoped that it would proceed as soon as possible. EH are concerned that continued ringing on inadequate foundation beams might cause cracking in the ‘A’ frame castings but expect that the situation will be carefully monitored, guidance from the DAC and its advisor sought, and ringing stopped if the considered view is that the risk has become too great for it to continue safely. CCCBR agreed that any monitoring was the responsibility of the local ringers and the parish.

10. Other matters:
CBC reported that HLF were conducting a public consultation on their spending priorities for 2013-19 and urged ringers to respond. [The Vice-President responded on behalf of CCCBR.]
EH reported that a three pit king post frame from Stoughton was now on display at the Weald and Downland Museum and that they had assisted with information for a display panel, using SPAB and CCCBR publications.
The next meeting will be held on Monday 10 October 2011 at Church House.
Tony Smith thanked EH and CBC for their hospitality at these meetings during his time as CCCBR Vice-President and President.

Mary Bone
May 2011

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