Suffolk church repairs could cost £2m

MORE than 40 churches in Suffolk are in need of repair to prevent long term damage - and the bill could top £2 million.Conservation chiefs said the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has between 40 and 42 churches “in need” - some of the highest numbers in the country.

MORE than 40 churches in Suffolk are in need of repair to prevent long term damage - and the bill could top £2 million.

Conservation chiefs said the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has between 40 and 42 churches “in need” - some of the highest numbers in the country.

English Heritage made the announcement yesterday as it launched Inspired, a campaign to reveal the full extent of the threat facing historic places of worship.

As part of the drive the group commissioned a survey of the physical condition of churches in the east Suffolk area to help estimate outstanding repair bills.


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It is believed £1.1million will need to be spent on churches in the region over the next five years in a bid to keep them up and running while the figure will rise to more than £2m over a 10 year period.

To overcome some of these problems the diocese has been taking part in a pilot scheme to ensure around 90 churches receive annual routine inspections from trusted contractors to stop long term damage.

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James Halsall, secretary to the diocesan advisory committee for the care of churches in Suffolk, said: “It's really quite exciting because it is a groundbreaking scheme and the very first time it will be done in the country.

“It's really good news because a lot of churches no longer carry out routine maintenance and it is hoped by spending a few thousand pounds every year on things such as clearing gutters it will save money in the long term by preventing more serious problems.”

A church was said to be “in need” where in 2003 a parish had outstanding repairs costing at least £50,000 and more than ten times their expenditure on their building that year.

Mr Halsall said any money needed for repairs would come from English Heritage or Suffolk Historic Churches Trust grants, although individual parishes would also be expected to contribute.

“The important thing to note is these churches aren't about to just fall down and none are so dangerous they have to close,” he said. “Someone has just identified that some work needs to be done. It's like when you look around your own house and think it's about time you redecorated.

“It's all subjective according to the architect that carries out the survey but work can range from roof and window replacements to spire and tower repairs.”

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