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Care of Churches

Project Appraisal Meetings

It's all in the planning

An APPRAISAL process for proposed Parish Development Projects

This page sets out the procedure that should be followed when parishes have a building development programme and is to ensure that the various Diocesan constituencies are informed and involved.


The Church of England has evolved over many centuries and consequently has ended up with a complicated structure of ownerships and responsibilities. Parishes are still evolving and occasionally come up with ideas affecting the use of buildings, which may, on the face of it, seem simple, but are often surrounded by difficulties. There have been a number of cases recently when parishes have proceeded with building projects and have been held up because there has been insufficient co-ordination between the various parties which have to be involved. This can result in tension as work may have been carried out in good faith, but has to be re-negotiated when the next stage is reached. The five areas that need to be co-ordinated are:

  • Title
  • Planning Controls
  • Building
  • Pastoral
  • Finance


It is recommended that when a parish contacts any Diocesan officer about a project that will involve development work of any form, they are asked to contact their Archdeacon who will call a "Project Appraisal Meeting". Development work which only involves the church building may not ultimately require an appraisal, but the Archdeacon still needs to know!

The meeting should be convened as soon as the parish is able to describe their vision on paper. It need not be detailed (two sides of A4 would be perfectly sufficient), but it should give an indication of how buildings and people are affected.

An appraisal meeting will normally involve at least:

  • The appropriate Archdeacon
  • Parish Representatives
  • The Diocesan Surveyor
  • The Pastoral Secretary

The Archdeacon, in consultation with the parish, will determine if other Officers should also be invited - the Diocesan Resources Officer, the Parish Finance Officer, the Community Development Adviser and the Grants & Community Fundraising Manager. The Archdeacon will ensure that each of these at least receives a short briefing note of the meeting.

The meeting will enable all the Diocesan Officers to consider the implications of the plan. If the project involves more than just the church building, the Diocesan Surveyor will arrange for the item to be placed on the Sites Committee agenda and can advise on planning and other building issues. The Pastoral Secretary will advise on the need for faculties and the involvement of the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) and other interested parties, and on the need for any necessary Pastoral Schemes, including the involvement of Archdeaconry and Diocesan Mission & Pastoral Committees.

The parish must ensure that a project co-ordinator is appointed locally, as this is vital for holding the different elements of a project together and through whom all contact will be made in future. The parish will also need to be informed of and aware of the involvement of Diocesan solicitors and/or surveyors and be aware of the cost implications.

The Diocesan Surveyor has produced a booklet, "Employing Professional Consultants & Buying & Selling Parish Property" which is essential reading before embarking on a project. Copies of this are available on request from the Property Department at Trinity House.

Progress will need to be monitored carefully and we look to the parish to ensure that Diocesan officers receive regular updates. This is especially important when finance has to be put in place at the correct time and also to ensure that relevant 'permissions' have been applied for.

These guidelines have been drawn up to ensure that the parish, the Archdeacon and Diocesan Officers can work together to help a project come to a successful conclusion.

Revised Nov 2007