I was very interested to read the Wakefield Express about the effect the Budget will have on the alterations being made at Wakefield Cathedral.
If we are, supposedly, adapting to the 21st century, then we need to look at the economic prospects for many people at this time.
A lack of forward thinking has been exposed here.
With the current austere climate, wiser councils quietly suggested a more modest, less extravagant approach, such as concentrating on more essential works like heating and lighting - shelving the more controversial and less necessary aspects such as the replacement of the George Gilbert Scott pews which were, of course, still perfectly usable.
PR statements have been made about “an obligation to ensure the highest standards of care including experienced craftsmen and expensive materials”.
Those pews were of the highest standard – and paid for in good faith by members of the congregation.
A spokesman for English Heritage made a key and telling statement recently: “The removal of VAT relief will eliminate a perverse incentive to carry out more change to a listed building than were necessary.”
Well there we have it.
A church organist friend of mine said: “What we now have is a half-finished building that could remain in that state for some time.”
A more modest project would have been more appropriate and sensitive within the economic climate, but no, the cathedral authorities decided to forge ahead, and we now see the consequences. Egg on faces.
St John’s Court