Saint Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast is considering introducing an entrance fee for tourists to help meet its yearly running costs.
The Dean of Belfast the Very Reverend John Mann (below) told the Belfast Telegraph it takes about £1,000 a day to run the cathedral and he explained the projected deficit for the current financial year is around £30,000.
“This cannot continue,” he said. “We receive half of our income from car parking, and we are looking for new income streams.
“At the moment we are asking for a voluntary visitor donation of £2.50 per person, but the average we receive is only about 30p. So it may be necessary to consider a visitors’ fee.”
The cathedral may now ask tour operators to include a fee as part of their overall charges for people who visit Belfast. St Anne’s plays a pivotal role in the civic and religious life of the city, but it has a comparatively small parish congregation to contribute to the high cost of running it.
But Dean Mann stressed that special consideration would be given to regular users of St Anne’s.
“We are still considering all the options but there is no way that we are going to charge the people of Belfast who want to come in to their own cathedral,” he said.
“We will ensure that there are always places available for prayer and reflection.”
Many cathedrals and large churches in the UK levy fees and St Anne’s is considering £4.
A spokesman for St Paul’s Cathedral in London said: “St Paul's receives little regular or significant funding from the Crown, Church or the State. We therefore rely on the income generated by tourism to allow the building to continue to function.”
- For St Paul's Cathedral in London, an adult ticket is £14, children £6.
- York Minster has a gift shop and charges £9 for adults and £8 concession.
- In Scotland there is no charge for visiting Glasgow and Dublane cathedrals. St Andrew’s and Elgin cathedrals are ruins, charging £4.50 and £5 respectively.