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Stanton Williams put on hold at Truro Cathedral as pensions crisis bites

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Stanton Williams' competition-winning proposals for a new quarter around Truro Cathedral have been put on hold because of a possible pensions crisis within the Church of England.

Earlier this year the practice saw off a host of top names, including AJ 40 Under 40 starlet Ian McChesney, to win the contest to redevelop the area north of the Cornish cathedral.

However funding fears have caused the cathedral to postpone the project this year until the uncertainty surrounding the potential pensions disaster has been resolved.

It is understood dioceses have been asked to find an extra £9.5 million a year to help plug the church's pension gap with an increase in contributions from 33.8 per cent to 39.8 per cent.

Richard Glover, the chief executive of Truro Cathedral, believes the decision to suspend any further development of the scheme was justified in light of the current financial turmoil.

In a recent report to the Church Commissioners, Glover said that the true 'extent of the potential funding changes [would] not become clear until later in the year following a formal assessment of the scale of the Church's pension challenge.'

Speaking to the AJ , Glover went on to say: 'The delay is just prudent for the sake of 12 months during this period of uncertainty.

'On the extremely depressing side there could be a complete meltdown in the churches. On the other hand there could be no problem at all. The reality is that it's somewhere in between and that it is unlikely to have any major effect on the Church Commissioners.'

The cathedral hopes to announce a revised plan and timescale for the development towards the end of 2007.

by Richard Waite

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