Statutory Advisory Committee on Closed and Closing Churches

The Statutory Advisory Committee (SAC) gives independent advice to the Church Commissioners and the Churches Conservation Trust on heritage matters relating to closed and closing churches.

We are a committee of the Church Buildings Council and a statutory body in our own right.

Our constitution is set out in schedule 4 paragraphs 18-27 of the Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007.

Our function

  • We give advice to the Church Commissioners on the heritage interest of closed churches and sympathetic changes that might be made to them
  • We identify the closed churches that could be given to the Churches Conservation Trust
  • We advise whether demolition of a church with little or no heritage interest is acceptable from a heritage standpoint
  • We give advice to the Churches Conservation Trust on introducing new uses or leasing churches in their care

Our role in the closure process

1. At the beginning of the process, we look at the possibility for changes to:

  • The churchyard and curtilage (e.g. access, new-build)
  • The exterior of the church building (e.g. additions, extensions, alterations)
  • The interior of the building (e.g. subdivision of interior spaces)
  • Its contents (e.g. retention, removal or relocation of furnishings)

We also give a general view on whether the church could be given to the Churches Conservation Trust. We give this advice in an extra section added to the church buildings report.

2. Later we give advice on specific proposals that come forward (e.g. architects’ plans).

3. At the end we review our advice if no suitable use has been found.

Our assessment criteria

We use the criteria and methodology for assessing significance and impact endorsed by the Church Buildings Council.

We also have specific policies on:

  • Bells and bellframes
  • Fonts and font covers
  • Pipe organs
  • War memorials

Find out more

Our members

Our members are specialists in a variety of fields including church architecture, archaeology and conservation.

Appointed by the Church Buildings Council

  • Sir Tony Baldry (Chair)
  • Jennie Page (Vice-chair)
  • Dr James Bettley
  • Dr David Thackray

Nominated by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

  • Jill Channer
  • Matthew Saunders
  • Dr Hilary Taylor
  • Nigel Walter

We normally hold seven meetings each year.

Find out more

Contact us for more information.