Michael Fabricant highlighted the plight of Lichfield Cathedral which faces possible closure in the House of Commons earlier today (Thursday morning). Hansard reports:-
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): What representations he has made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for maintenance of the fabric of English cathedrals that are older than 500 years.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): The first world war centenary cathedral repairs fund has so far allocated £13 million to 41 cathedrals, both Anglican and Catholic, across England. The third and final round of this scheme closes on 17 January.
Michael Fabricant: My right hon. Friend will know that Lichfield cathedral is more than 800 years old—and its wiring is almost as old. If that wiring is not replaced, Lichfield cathedral will have to close because of insurance regulations. Will he make representations to ensure that the cathedral gets the money it urgently requires to replace its wiring and remain open?
Sir Tony Baldry: I was grateful, as I am sure the whole House was, to the Chancellor for allocating £20 million for cathedral repair. I anticipate that Lichfield will apply in January in the third round of this scheme for about £1 million to, as my hon. Friend says, rewire and re-light the whole cathedral, and I hope that Lichfield is successful in that bid
Michael now says: "Lichfield Cathedral belongs to us all, is over 800 years old and is an integral part of our community. It not only provides a place of worship and religious education for all ages, but is a major venue for cultural events including the Lichfield Festival and performances by DECO, the Cathedral’s own orchestra. These events attract audiences from within and beyond the Diocese. However, there is now urgent need for the lighting and electrics to be repaired and re-installed. Without this being done, the Cathedral will face closure which would devastate the community both religious and those with no religion and be very harmful to the local economy.
“I hope that a full grant will be made from the Treasury to cover these essential works. And if successful, I shall work with the Cathedral to make sure we shall all benefit from this funding.”