Churches: Closures

Church Commissioners written question – answered at on 12 September 2023.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how many churches have been closed by the Church of England in each of the last 10 years.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

Between 2010 and 2019, 209 consecrated churches were formally closed, which amounted to just over 1%. Since the 1990s the rate of closure has remained steady at 20-25 per year out of a total of around 16,000 church buildings. It is important to note that new churches are also being built and that some congregations meet in other kinds of buildings.

More information can be found in the annual reports of the Church Commissioners, which are available in the House of Commons Library, or online here, in the sections for ‘Mission, Pastoral and Church Property’ or ‘Pastoral Administration’:

Churches are first and foremost places of worship. The 2017 Taylor Review into sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals ( ) found that the Government could also enable the church to serve local communities better by reviewing planning law around listed buildings, to enable Local Authorities to think more imaginatively about diversification and wider use. For over a decade the Church of England’s own ‘open and sustainable churches’ programme, has encouraged churches to consider partnering with a wide variety of community resources (e.g. post offices, village shops, children’s play areas, credit unions, foodbanks, co-working spaces) in sharing space: Sharing your building and finding partners | The Church of England

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