Campaigner proposes Register of Essential Works for Places of Worship

A prominent campaigner for the heritage of Southport has made an open proposal to his Local Authority and Central Government to establish a formal documented platform listing essential works required across all Places of Holy Worship (POHW) in a bid to support ongoing yearly maintenance costs encountered by the personnel responsible.

David Barton, former Councillor for the Dukes Ward covering the Town Centre and West Birkdale, is determined to see as much support as possible provided to POHW as part of his long-running campaign to promote and incentivize people to nurture and harness the town’s civic architecture and provide better community support.

The community campaigner, whose ultimate focus has been and remains the restoration of Southport, believes his proposal would be a simple yet effective means of bringing help to those most in need, whilst also giving the Grant Bodies a clearer indication of where prudent spending can make the best positive impact for an area and the UK in turn.

Mr Barton says:

“I am requesting that the National Government create a digitalized register of all Places of Worship with itemized pages and detailed listings provided as to all such required domestic and essential works forming one key focus. This would not only clarify, but distinguish the most critical aspects of any one particular building in real time, thereby supporting the various Faiths & denominations in a more proactive manner than was possible before.”

He says:

“By categorizing all such required works- be it the need for repairs to flooring, a new boiler or roof, this will have multifold advantages for everyone in the long-term future. Firstly, this would be greatly cost-effective in terms of minimizing the overall costs associated with an entire restoration where time has elapsed on a particular job and funding was either reallocated or a private donor came forward sooner from viewing the database.”

“Secondly this may allow more streamlined grant funding to be channelled to where it’s absolutely needed most without risking compromising everyday use of said building, for example if a building had to close for an entire restoration of its roof when a repair beforehand could have permitted the running of more day to day services and activities.”

“In providing another means to reducing the burden of tasks that can consume much of a place’s resources ordinarily, this will also decrease the strain on those already working conscientiously to maintain the extraordinary old buildings. From my own experience canvassing, there are many Churches and Temples in the area that would benefit tremendously should such an initiative be introduced if there were a digital Guardian Angel watching over.”

“This can happen much sooner though with the support of Local and Regional Government; therefore I would strongly recommend Sefton Council also support this benevolent campaign henceforth. By taking action now, this will likely save another historical building somewhere that will also protect the environment through the vast carbon storage that old buildings comprise of. All things considered there is a strong case here academically.”

“If this does encourage people to step forward sooner where a small, but meaningful change, such as the repair of a heating system that may have an everlasting difference for someone, this is something to be proud of. People have and will always require sanctuary during the difficult times in their life and for this reason amongst all the others, we should be presciently seeking to help these people and the places that help them still in the 2020s.”

“The Arnside Road Synagogue, being one of two Jewish establishments in Southport, is an architectural majesty that continues to amaze and impress with its timeless grandeur. With further reassurances that it had another level of support, this may inspire a greater level of activity for all age groups through the knowledge it could do more with its revenue for the community. In line with the Government Guidelines, this may also entail subsequent increased frequenting of all sacred buildings throughout the year via the increased ability of POHW to support communities.”

“I am therefore strongly supporting this being formalized at Parliamentary level and the Government enshrining into Law a requirement for all Places of Holy Worship to list their Essential Works, with a view to being provided with the necessary financial support as and when needed. This can and will only help everyone and importantly further ensure the absolute best value for the pound for both Public and Private Sector alike. I hope that many of you will be able to show your full support for these establishments which have been the pillars of community and society for centuries and sign the petition in good faith.”

Mr. Barton has provided a link to the Online Petition which can be accessed here: Create a Digital Register of All Places of Holy Worship (POHW) listing Essential & Urgent Works that may receive funding sooner – Local News and Information (

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