A PLEA for councillors to help finance two Church of England projects has led to plans for a meeting with the Anglicans to find out more. They are schemes which make the church buildings even more active.
There was a bid from St Mary’s Church, Trawden, to provide £3,500 towards a Sustainable Village Amenities scheme for the community.
And Holy Trinity Church in Burnley Road, Colne, has asked for a £3,000 contribution towards the development of a performing arts venue there.
Coun. Tony Greaves told Pendle Council’s Colne and District Committee: “There is a matter of principle here about whether we are prepared to assist local religious groups if they are doing things for the wider community.”
He pointed out that, 40 years ago, councillors would not have given a penny to churches, but it is now more acceptable. “There is a wider community involved in it,” he said.
His view was that he has no objection in the modern age if churches open up their facilities to the public. “I think we should consider these projects,” he said.
But Coun. Mike Calvert pointed out there was financial austerity for councils now and said: “I think this is ill-use of taxpayers’ money.”
And his Conservative colleague Coun. George Askew added: “I don’t think we should be funding feasibilities studies like this.”
The Rev. Tony Rindl said it was important the Church of England assessed how it would use its buildings in future, but did share concerns about funding. If it was turned down, he would like the council to give guidance to churches on how they can make progress.
Coun. Calvert suggested a meeting should take place with the churches. “I’d like to see the decision deferred for another month,” he said.
And Coun. Greaves added: “I wonder if we should actually ask for a meeting and ask our locality people to come and discuss the issue.” And it was agreed to have a meeting.