Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Meeting with English Heritage

Notes of a meeting held at 3, Bunhill Row, London, EC1 on Thursday, 12th October 2006

English Heritage - Richard Halsey, Graham Pledger.

CCCBR - Derek Sibson, Chris Povey, Ian Oram.

Apologies received from David Heath and Tony Smith.

1. Matters Arising from previous meeting notes:

(a) Survey recording techniques: CCCBR representatives congratulated Graham Pledger on his article in The Ringing World of 15th September. It was likely that a similar survey would be undertaken shortly: four contractors had tendered against an EH specification for the work and one had been selected. Costs for the work were expected to be less than the initial EH-run exercise.

(b) Criteria for listing bells: Alan Frost was unable to attend to report on further meetings held. However, Richard Halsey noted that a paper on the subject had been circulated at the recent DAC conference.

(c) Surveys of existing bellframes: Graham Pledger reported that the paper still awaited EH inspectors' comments. Chris Pickford was to confirm that he was content with the final version; Chris Povey expected that the Towers and Belfries Committee would give its full support.

(d) Changes in legislation: Ian Oram referred to a further meeting with the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG), at which concern had been expressed at the implications for ringing of the introduction of new regulations, e.g. The Working at Height Regulations and The Fire Regulations effective from 1st October: could not the practical effects of applying these regulations have been considered? After mentioning the work of the Churches Main Committee, Richard Halsey commented that a view should be taken in each individual circumstance and a risk assessment should be undertaken, to enable a reasoned approach to the regulations; there was no likelihood of exemptions being granted for churches. Reference was made to the helpful guidance notes produced by EIG.

(e) "Inspired!": Richard Halsey reported that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had issued a press-release to announce that £50 million had been given to the Listed Places of Worship Scheme; however, this was not really "new" money as it represented the VAT refund! Prospects for further money were not looking good: MPs were being asked to influence the Treasury not to cut DCMS finance: there may be an indication in the Chancellor's November budget statement.

2. EH reorganisation: Richard Halsey explained that staff had moved to temporary accommodation at Bunhill Row, EC1; subsequently the London headquarters of EH would be established at Waterhouse Square, part of the former Prudential Assurance Building. Further changes would depend on the next spending review due in June/July 2007, to be effective from April 2008.

3. Ecclesiastical Exemption: Richard Halsey said that the White Paper on heritage, originally due in May, was not now expected until late November or early December (post-meeting note: now February); it was unlikely that much would be said about the Exemption. No new consent regime could be anticipated for several years.

4. Cases of difficulty: none had been formally notified but the following schemes were discussed:

(a) Great Malvern: Graham Pledger explained that Alan Taylor, the EH Regional Inspector, was about to submit his papers to the Chancellor: he would make the heritage case for preservation. He would then reply to correspondence in The Ringing World, confirming the EH view that the repair option would cause the least disturbance to the frame. Chris Povey reiterated his opinion that the Malvern frame was a poor example of a Taylor "tall-A" frame and that better examples existed, if preservation for heritage purposes was the specific aim of EH. Malvern's frame embodied significant "alien" structural additions and the repair option did not include for their removal.

(b) other: the meeting had a general discussion about various schemes planned.

5. Next meeting - it was agreed to meet at Bunhill Row on 5th March 2007 at 2.30pm.

The Ringing World, February 2, 2007, page 131