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Churches: Conservation

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much of the Heritage Lottery Fund has been allocated to preserving historic churches in each of the last five years. (247833)

The Heritage Lottery Fund provides funding to places of worship, including historic churches, through its Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme. The allocation for this scheme over the last five years is set out in the following table. Historic churches have also been eligible to apply to the fund’s other grants programmes if they met the criteria, and provided that any application for outstanding repair works could not be tackled via the Places of Worship scheme.

Financial year

Heritage Lottery Fund Repair Grants for Places of Worship budget (£)











To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment he has made of the long-term sustainability of historic churches; and if he will make a statement. (247834)

The Secretary of State relies on the advice of English Heritage in relation to the condition and sustainability of historic buildings. In 2005, English Heritage and the Council for the Care of Churches commissioned a Fabric Needs Survey, which aimed to establish the cost of all major repairs needed to bring all listed places of worship in England into good repair. The survey concluded, based on a sample of buildings, that £925 million over five years was necessary.

As part of its Heritage at Risk programme, English Heritage is undertaking an assessment of the condition and level of use of listed places of worship, the results of which are due to be published in 2010. This research will to give a national perspective on the physical condition of these buildings and inform DCMS, English Heritage and all partners across the sector, regarding the current and future prospects for sustainability.