Judgment Search

Churchyards

Display:

The proposal was for the construction of a new extension to the north of the west end of the church, containing an accessible toilet, a store, a kitchen and a meeting room. The Church Buildings Council was concerned about the impact of the proposed extension on an adjacent 700+ years old yew tree, insofar as the proposed extension would affect about 25% of the 'root protection area'. The Chancellor was satisfied that a good case had been made for the new facilities, but with great reluctance he decided that he was unwilling to grant a faculty for the work as proposed, due to the risk of harm to the 'veteran' yew, but he hoped that with the assistance of the Diocesan Advisory Committee the parish would be able to come up with a viable alternative scheme.

The incumbent and churchwardens wished to grant a licence to a company to use part of the churchyard for temporary site offices and car parking, and to allow the fitting of electronically-controlled access gates. They also wished to dispose of some items of church furniture, which had been in storage for 10 years. The Victorian Society did not support the disposal of the lectern, a chair and some prayer desks. Historic England had reservations about the proposed new gates. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had reservations about the gates and also archaeological concerns. The Chancellor was satisfied with the proposals and granted a faculty.

An interim hearing at which the Chancellor approved part of the proposals contained in the Petition, namely, the demolition of the parish room extension on the north side of the church and its replacement with a new parish centre extension, leaving outstanding proposals for a new glass foyer to link the new parish centre with the west end of the church.

Faculty granted for foyer to link extension on the north side of the church to the west end; new west door; moving of the font; and external block paving.

The subject-matter of the petition was a piece of unconsecrated churchyard between the original churchyard and an adjacent lane. The proposal was to grant a 999 year lease of a strip of the unconsecrated land to the neighbour whose house lay at the end of the lane, which was of tapering width, in order to give the lane uniform width, to allow better access for cars and larger vehicles. There were objections from members of the family who owned the land on the opposite side of the lane. The Chancellor determined that the terms of the proposed lease would benefit both the neighbour and the church, and he granted a faculty. The judgment contains a discussion of the court's jurisdiction to permit the disposal of unconsecrated churchyard land.

The petitioners wished to carry out some reordering works inside and outside the church, so that the church could be used for retreats and quiet days. The main item at issue was a proposed platform to be erected in a piece of woodland at the end of the churchyard. (The woodland had formerly been glebe, but had been added to the churchyard some years previously.) The petitioners proposed to use the platform as a base for a temporary structure, such as a tent or a gazebo, whilst conducting retreats. The Chancellor refused to allow the platform, but granted a faculty for all the other items in the petition.

The incumbent and churchwardens applied for a faculty to approve a local variation of the Churchyard Regulations. The Chancellor was satisfied that it was appropriate to approve a local set of regulations on aesthetic and practical grounds and to enable better management of the churchyard. It would be a condition of the faculty that families would be required to sign a notice confirming that they would comply with the regulations.

The Faculty Petition sought permission for (a) CCTV cameras, (b) a projector and screen, and (c) new railings for the churchyard. Objections were made in respect of the proposed new railings. The Chancellor granted a Faculty for all the items. 

This judgment related to Re Tonge Moor St. Augustine (1) [2012]. The Chancellor refused to make an order for costs against the objectors.