The Rand (Flemish periphery around Brussels) is also faced with the urgent need for these edifices to be earmarked for new (alternative) purposes. The municipal council- approved church policy plans represent a long-term strategy for the future of the various churches. These amount in practice to a lot of random ideas, including the creation of a dining hall, childcare facilities, meeting rooms and libraries. ‘Many of the ideas come with question marks attached as to their feasibility, affordability and quality,’ explains De Roo, who is responsible for following up the Church Reassignment Project Agency’s 115 different proposals for the whole of Flanders.
Empty pews, a shortage of priests and the declining number of services are a major source of concern for local authorities. The cost of maintaining and renovating these buildings requires a high level of investment.