Church could be first to install CCTV

A CHURCH in a Suffolk market town could become the first one in the diocese to be fitted with an external CCTV camera.The Very Reverend Canon David Stranack has applied to Babergh District Council for planning permission to install a CCTV camera on one of the walls of St Mary's Church in Hadleigh.

A CHURCH in a Suffolk market town could become the first one in the diocese to be fitted with an external CCTV camera.

The Very Reverend Canon David Stranack has applied to Babergh District Council for planning permission to install a CCTV camera on one of the walls of St Mary's Church in Hadleigh.

However, he will also have to get the green light from the Church of England planning authority, which has the final say over any alternations to a church building.

Nick Clarke, communications director for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich diocese, said: “As I understand it would be the first church within the diocese to have an external CCTV camera.

“However, they still need to get planning permission from the Church of England Faculty as you cannot alter the structure of a church building without its consent.

“There are two or three within the area which have internal cameras, and church security is something we get asked about fairly regularly, however I have to admit it's not a huge concern.

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“There are occasions when buildings are broken into or people go around trying to steal money however it is not a major problem.

“Generally, we try and keep them open and unlocked during daylight hours because we want to encourage people to use the church as a quiet space where they can retreat to during the day.

“It's impossible to say if we are likely to see an increase in planning applications for measures like CCTV and we will just have to wait and see.”

Jim Quinlan, district councillor for Hadleigh north, said the need to install CCTV on the church, in Church Street, was a sad reflection of the times.

“I assume the camera will be there to try and protect the fabric of the church from vandals and it's a sad state of affairs which unfortunately can be seen as a sign of the times,” he said.

“The dean has been very good to local youths and didn't discourage them from hanging around the entrance to the church but it seems not to have been appreciated by a minority.”

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