A meeting between representatives of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and Officers of the Council for the Care of Churches took place on 14th January 2005 at Church House, London.
Following careful consideration of the responses and discussions about the 2004 consultation paper, the CCC has agreed to undertake an assessment of the effect which would come from listing according to the proposed criteria in two dioceses where good information about the bell stock is available to see if discussion among a fairly small group of people will help develop a common understanding of the use of qualitative terms. The group will include representatives from the CCCBR, the bell trade and the CCC Bells Committee. The need for a different name for listing, which did not imply statutory authority was discussed, and will be addressed by the working party.
John Baldwin gave a thorough presentation of his work towards a national bell register. At present part of this is freely available online in Dove's Guide. After useful discussion it became clear that:
There are sufficient similarities between the questions being considered by the working party on listing and the discussions that are necessary over a National Bell Database for these to be run in parallel. The CCC would convene the meeting.
The CCCBR provided information about the successful mini ring at Warden Hill, Cheltenham (Tenor 65 lbs). This is a practical solution for churches that have either no bell tower or where there are structural problems that make a heavier ring impossible. The CCCBR asked the CCC to consider including mini rings on its advice note about substitute bells.
The CCC had agreed and published its guidelines for DAC advisers. The CCC agreed to consider supplementing these with some terms of reference applicable to all advisers (maybe 10 general principles) to help the consistent application of the guidelines across the dioceses.
The CCCBR explained to the CCC the work that it did in seeking to re-house bells from redundant churches when there was no future for retaining the bells in the church. The CCC explained its role in the redundancy process was to draw attention to bells of particular historic or other interest in its report on the architectural and other merits of the building. The disposal of contents was more properly the concern of the Diocesan Redundant Use Committee.
The CCCBR representatives asked if the CCC had any indication of the progress of the DCMS consultation over the Ecclesiastical Exemption. The DCMS was still considering the responses but indications from officials suggest that they wished to seek ways of working with, not against the church. At present CCC/Cathedral Fabric Commission for England are working on some possible pilot projects for management agreements with cathedrals and churches, as part of the wider review of protection legislation.
The Ringing World, May 13, 2005, page 447