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Reordering

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The works proposed by the petitioners included the removal of pews from the north and south aisles and the augmentation of toilet and kitchen facilities within the church. The Victorian Society objected to the removal of pews. Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013] considered. Faculty granted.

There had originally been a proposal to sell the organ located in the church tower, and to use the space presently occupied by the organ to provide for kitchen and toilet facilities. The organ had not been used for many years, but had been installed shortly after the church had been built in the 19th century. However, the current petition was limited to the sale and removal of the organ. The Chancellor was satisfied in principal that the removal of the organ and installation of the kitchen and toilet facilities would benefit the church and the community, and he granted a faculty for the sale of the organ, provided that the sale would take place within two years, and provided also that the organ should remain as it is until the petitioners have permission from the Court to install the proposed kitchen and toilet facilities.

The petitioners sought a faculty to allow a temporary reordering, authorised by the Archdeacon, to remain permanently. This included a children's area at the west end of the church, the removal of a large painting from the west wall, the permanent removal of six pews, and an information 'Hub'. There were four objectors, of whom one became a party opponent. The Chancellor concluded that the impact of the proposed changes on the appearance of the church would be modest, and that the proposals for providing information about the church to a growing population were appropriate. He accordingly granted a faculty.

The proposals were to re-order the west end of the church, including (1) replacement of the outer west doors;  (2) relocation of the inner west screen doors to the bay of an arch between the chancel and the Lady Chapel; (3) creation of an entrance foyer at the west end with inner and outer screens and mezzanine floor above; and  (4) relocation of the font and its cover from the west end to the north aisle. Faculty granted, subject to the base of the font (designed by G.E. Street, architect of the Royal Courts of Justice) being retained, rather than replaced with a larger base, as proposed in the petition.

The faculty proposed changes to the heating sytem, removal of the side aisle pews and introduction of upholstered chairs to match the chairs in the centre of the nave, which had been authorised in 2015 to replace the nave pews. The Victorian Society objected to more upholstered seating. The Chancellor concluded that, "It would not be reasonable to deny the petitioners more of the same sort of chair", and granted a faculty.

The Faculty petition proposed a major reordering of a Grade II* church. The Victorian Society was a party opponent. The Chancellor approved the proposals generally, concluding that the benefits would outweigh any harm to the church. However, he was not prepared to approve the proposed red upholstered chairs. He therefore gave a stay of proceedings for 28 days, to allow for the petitioners to consider the judgment and put forward an alternative proposal for the chairs, which the Chancellor might find acceptable.

The faculty petition proposed a major reordering of the 13th century church, including removal of most of the pews and installation of a kitchen, which would support a proposed 'cafe hub'. The rationale for the proposals was to stem the decline of attendance at the church and encourage further church and community use, rather than risk closure. The Chancellor was satisfied that a good case had been made for the changes and granted a faculty for all but one item in the proposals.

An application had been made for a restoration order following the removal of four pews and replacement of some pew platform boards. Although an application had been made for an Archdeacon's Licence for temporary re-ordering, the work had been done before the Licence had been issued, and therefore before the conditions attached to the Licence were known. The pews had received some minor damage during the course of their removal. The Commissary General decided to make a restoration order in respect of the pews (but not the platform boards), but suspend it for an initial period of four months to give the PCC an opportunity of consulting the amenity societies and the Diocesan Advisory Committee and applying for a Faculty to authorise a permanent re-ordering.

Major re-ordering was proposed. Objection by the Victorian Society in relation to the physical and spatial impact of the scheme as a whole. Faculty granted.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the removal of a number of short side aisle pews as, in applying the guidelines in Re St. Alkmund Duffield, he found that the petitioners had failed to provide a clear and convincing justification for the removal of the pews. He stated that if the PCC wished to remove the pews they should produce a more comprehensive plan for re-ordering the interior of the church. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the removal of a number of short side aisle pews as, in applying the guidelines in Re St. Alkmund Duffield, he found that the petitioners had failed to provide a clear and convincing justification for the removal of the pews. He stated that if the PCC wished to remove the pews they should produce a more comprehensive plan for re-ordering the interior of the church.