INVESTMENT in the Priory’s new visitor centre has led to short-term cash flow problems at the historic church.

The latest instalment of the parish share for June, July and August will not be paid into the Diocese of Winchester’s central fund this quarter, the organisation confirmed.

The minutes of the June meeting of Christchurch PCC (Parochial Church Council), show an item titled ‘Short term cash flow problems’.

The minutes show members, which included chairman and former Priest in Charge, Father Chris Mann, requesting the Diocese agree to a postponement in paying parish share for the three-month period after the “fragility of the Parish short term funding had been emphasized in the Annual Report.”

It adds: “It is our intention that these monies will be remitted to the Diocese before the end of the current financial year.”

A spokesperson for the Diocese said: “Christchurch is making significant investment in upgrading its visitors’ centre.

“The long-term funding for this project is already in place but, as with any large investment, there are upfront costs and a need for cash flow.

“The Diocese of Winchester recognises this and so has agreed that Christchurch can postpone payment of parish share for three months.

“Christchurch’s payments of Parish Share will recommence as normal in September and the parish has committed to paying for these three months before the end of the current financial year.”

Representatives from the Priory declined to comment any further on the matter.

Plans for phase two of the visitor centre project were unveiled earlier this year and include a new modern hall at the back of Priory House with a glass front and new museum.

It follows the first part of redevelopment, which included new parish offices, a re-located gift shop, refurbished toilets and catering facilities.

Last month, Priory priest, Father Chris Mann resigned, unexpectedly announcing his departure via Twitter.

What is the parish share?

PARISH share is the sum of money paid by a parish each year into the Diocese ‘Common Mission Fund’.

The fund is the total of all the parish payments and funds the mission of the church.

Each parish receives from the fund in the form of their clergy, says an explanation on the Diocese of Winchester’s website.

It says expenditure on clergy includes monthly stipend, pension contributions, housing costs and training.