A meeting took place on 2nd September 2005 at Church House, London between representatives of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and Officers of the Council for the Care of Churches.
The first meeting of the working party was to be held on 23rd September.
The CCCBR had noted that there had been situations where Chancellors had ignored CCC advice on tuning issues. The CCC pointed out that it was the Chancellors' right to make a decision in the light of all the facts put to them. However, there was a strong move by the CCC to identify what was significant in giving its advice. There were occasions when the CCC did not object to tuning listed bells.
The CCC reported that there had not been any significant feedback from the dioceses over the impact of the CCC guidelines for substitute bells. The guidelines were not intended to encourage substitute bells (which would be contrary to the Code) but to help DACs give reasonable advice in difficult circumstances. The inclusion of cost as an issue was not intended as a let-out for finding funds to carry out work to bells.
It was not a legal requirement for any DAC to have a bell (or any other) adviser, although it did need access to advice in specialist areas. Most dioceses did have a bell adviser and the CCC would hope that dioceses would have access to bell advice at a local level.
The CCC reported on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport response, The Way Forward. The Government had accepted that the Exemption would remain. It was encouraging the use of voluntary Heritage Partnership Agreements (HPA) in the care of ecclesiastical buildings that were subject at present to both ecclesiastical and secular controls. Pilot HPAs were being developed in the dioceses of Bath & Wells and Lincoln and for the precincts of Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals. For churches and churchyards this could enable the provision of blanket consent for some types of pre-agreed work. HPAs were also being piloted in secular planning contexts.
The Diocesan Chancellors have compiled a consistent list of minor works which did not require a faculty and were consulting their DACs. The CCCBR was concerned that the section on bells was capable of misinterpretation and was not as clear as some Dioceses' current arrangements.
The CCCBR reported that QS4 had provided few details of new installations and would again raise the matter with QS4. QS4 would have a stand at the Ringing Roadshow.
The CCC presently sent these reports to the Chairman of the CCCBR Redundant Bells Committee. The CCCBR confirmed that these reports were treated as confidential to the committee. The CCC pointed out that the PM report was at a very early stage in the process and that there was no assumption that all (or even most) PM reports led to redundancy. There is an ongoing review of the Pastoral Measure with Synod.
Church House staff would be temporarily relocated to Elizabeth House, Waterloo, from December 2005 until Spring 2007. Telephone, email and postal addresses would not change.
The next meeting will be on 10th March 2006.
The Ringing World, December 30, 2005, page 1251