Occupy London: St Paul's Losing £16,000 A Day Due To Protest
The decision to close St Paul's in the face of the Occupy London protests is costing the cathedral more than £16,000 every day it remains shut to visitors.
The chancellor of St Paul's announced on Friday the cathedral would be closed to the public for the first time since World War Two over health and safety concerns.
Staff expect to lose even more money on Sunday, when the place of worship would usually collect extra revenue from the two to three thousand worshippers who would have attended. As the cathedral costs around £20,000 a day in upkeep, every day the protestors cause the doors to remain shut results in an ever-widening deficit.
The chancellor, Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser, rebuffed rumours the building had been shut for commercial reasons and defended the decision.
"Given the strong advice that we have received that the camp is making the cathedral and its occupants unsafe then this right has to be balanced against other rights and responsibilities too."
"I remain firmly supportive of the right of people peacefully to protest," he added.
Oliver (last name withheld), works as an insurance broker in the City and described the protestors as "bitter and jealous".
"If someone walked up to those protestors and offered them a job as a banker with a three-figure salary I highly doubt any of them would turn it down. Most of them are obviously unemployed or else they wouldn't be able to camp there for so long. It all boils down to these so-called 'protestors' being angry they don't have jobs so they are taking it out on those who do. Their protests are misplaced. They are costing the cathedral thousands of pounds and don't affect us at all."
Newly married Natasha Ighodaro was directly affected by the protestors as she was due to be married in the cathedral on Saturday. Despite the wedding going ahead, the bride had to walk in through a side entrance rather than using the traditional door used for weddings and climbing the magnificent front steps - which are now teeming with protestors milling around with placards.
The York University graduate seemed to put on a brave face as she arrived to marry groom Nick Cunningham against a backdrop of police, scruffy tents, and "capitalism is crisis" banners.
In a message posted on Facebook ahead of their special day, the couple were forced to reassure guests the wedding would go ahead as planned.
The message stated: "For anyone who is worried about tomorrow - don't be. The recent announcement doesn't affect us; it just means that we have run of the house :) xxxx."
The decision to shut the cathedral was made after the activists came after activists refused to comply with requests to move on after they set up a makeshift camp last Saturday.
The dean of St Paul's, the Rev Graeme Knowles, said there was no choice but to close the building to visitors as independent health and safety and fire officers had identified unknown quantities of flammable liquids, along with smoking and drinking in tented areas, which compromised fire exits. He also cited public health issues such as sanitation and food hygiene.
It is not yet clear how long St Paul's will have to remain closed for as the protestors have "vowed" to stay put for the immediate future.