Faith in the Future: Salisbury Cathedral’s Strategic Plan

Salisbury Cathedral is clearly not a museum, museum object or historic monument.  It is a living church and the working central focus for a large network of parishes in Wiltshire and Dorset.  The Cathedral also sits amidst the most glorious range of working buildings within the world renowned Cathedral Close. Nevertheless, when Garbers & James were asked to produce the Strategic Plan for the Cathedral and Close, their experience in designing and delivering major museum projects was invaluable and pertinent to the task in hand.

Many of the same elements found in the museum world also applied : large Visitor Numbers, Museum Objects (for example the best surviving copy of the Magna Carta), Library and Archive, Learning facilities , Catering, Retail and Events facilities, Visitor Service facilities, Landscape management and so forth. Consideration of Security and Operations, Sustainability, Accessibility, Interpretation and Diversity were common parameters across all functions.

Garbers & James’s duties involved working across Chapter as a whole to establish the Vision for their work over the coming decade. Garbers & James’s work took count of the then recently produced Conservation Plan and fabric Masterplan, produced by Alan Baxter & Associates.  Working collaboratively in workshop-like sessions, the Cathedral’s core Mission was reviewed, alongside the Institution’s Values in day-to-day working practices.

Coordinating Chapter’s input, Key Objectives across the Institution were defined.

The Strategic Plan recorded the ways in which Chapter agreed to achieve those objectives.  The fine detail described fell into one of a number of categories:

  • plans to modify working practices
  • discrete projects that included the need to restore, renovate, re-model or landscape various elements of the Cathedral estate
  • some new capital build projects that would better support the delivery of more contemporary programme elements

Where capital projects were identified, Garbers & James developed outline scope or Briefing descriptions that enabled budget costings to be developed.  This fed into an overall Financial Summary document that reflected the requisite capital budget for the Strategic Plan as a whole.