Church officials in Winwick have been granted for planning permission to replace large areas of lead stolen from the roof with stainless steel.
Thieves stripped thousands of pounds worth of lead from the south aisle and both sides of the lady chapel at the Grade II*-listed All Saints Church, in Winwick, in November last year.
The attack came just days after work to repair the damage caused by another theft had started and the incident, the third theft since 2011, prompted an angry reaction from church officials.
Parishioners applied to Huntingdonshire District Council in March for planning permission to install terne-coated stainless steel panels in place of the lead – which is expensive and more likely to be a target for thieves again.
Church officials told planners: “The oldest part of the church dates from the 11th century and is an asset of community value, which should be allowed to continue to function rather than deteriorate and cease to benefit the village.”
The steel panels will be coated in Smart Water, which means they can be traced and recovered should they be stolen in the future.
Approving the plans, district council planning officer, Kathy Render, said: It is acknowledged that English Heritage view terne-coated stainless steel as a suitable alternative roofing material to lead where a change of material is accepted in specific circumstances.
“It is of a similar appearance and also has good longevity lasting around 50 years although this is obviously not as long lasting as lead. It is therefore felt that whilst it is regrettable that this lead roof is to be replaced with an alternative roof material, the site specific circumstances in this case mean that this change is acceptable.”