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Reordering

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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.

The Associate Rector and Churchwardens petitioned for the removal of the nave and aisle pews. The church has no associated church hall and was seeking to adapt its building for use for both community and church-based activities. Objections were received from two private individuals, and concerns were expressed by the Victorian Society, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Local Planning authority, all of whom suggested alternative proposals involving the retention of some pews. The Deputy Chancellor made it clear that it was not for the objectors to put forward alternative proposals, but for the Chancellor to decide whether a convincing case had been made out for the actual proposals in the petition. Faculty granted.

The petition sought approval for major re-ordering, including the replacement of the pews with chairs. Faculty granted. Applying the principles laid down in Re St. Alkmund, Duffield [2013] Fam 158, the Chancellor was satisfied that there was clear and convincing justification for carrying out the proposals.

The petitioners wished to remove seven rows of pews in the north aisle of the church and replace them with some existing upholstered chairs in storage, in order to allow a more flexible use of the space. The Victorian Society objected that the upholstered chairs were not suitable for the Grade I listed church. The Chancellor concluded that the introduction of the chairs would cause only moderate harm to the church, and that this harm would be outweighed by the resulting public benefit. He accordingly granted a faculty.

The Vicar and Churchwardens requested a faculty for the disposal of a tenor bell dated 1600, which became redundant when a new set of six bells was installed in 2009. The proposal was that the bell should be sold to a local arts charity, which had used the bell with the permission of the Chancellor as a centrepiece for an arts festival in Folkestone, and that conditions should be imposed onteh sale that if no longer required by the arts charity, the bell should not be scrapped or exported, but should be offered to a museum, and in default of a museum being willing to take it, the bell should be given to Taylor's bell foundry in Loughborough. The Chancellor considered that such conditions imposed on a sale would be unenforceable, and suggested that the petitioner's consider applying for a faculty to simply lend the bell to the Folkestone arts charity.

The Chancellor authorised the removal of a block of pews from the north-west corner on the Grade II* Victorian church, in order to allow the installation of a disabled toilet and a servery.

Faculty sought for the conversion of the existing vestry into a toilet and tea-point, together with the provision of vestry facilities within the base of the tower. Objections to conversion of the vestry received. Faculty granted.

There were two petitions seeking to carry out substantial reordering in the church. The Georgian Group and the Victorian Society had objections, but did not become parties opponent. There were no other objections. The proposals included: clearing the existing furniture from the chancel and placing a new altar in the middle of the chancel, with new furniture around it; removal of a number of rows of pews; replacing the organ; creating a narthex/hall area. The Chancellor was satisfied that the need for the scheme outweighed any harm it would cause to the building, and he therefore granted a faculty.