Judgment Search

Reordering

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The Chancellor granted a faculty for the proposed new church centre. Following the judgment an application was made by the objectors to the Chancery Court of York for leave to appeal. By an Order dated 20 December 2016, the Auditor of the Chancery Court gave leave to appeal on only one of the grounds put forward by the objectors. The appeal to the Chancery Court of York was subsequently withdrawn as the result of a Consent Order. See Re St. Mary Upton (or Overchurch) (Order) [2016] ECCY 1.

The Chancellor, notwithstanding over 50 objections, granted a faculty to authorise the building of a new church centre.

Review of original judgment following objections of Parish Council (after the grant of a Faculty) to the removal of pews and replacement with chairs. Faculty confirmed.

The petition proposed a major reordering, including the removal of pews from the nave and their replacement with Howe 40/4 chairs; alteration of choir pews and other reordering of the chancel; installation of underfloor heating; extensive re-flooring; removal of walls at the west end of the church and installation of glass screens and doors. The Victorian Society was a party opponent. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty, concluding that this was an exceptional case where extensive reordering was necessary to meet the needs of the church and the local community.

The petitioners wished to install two new gas-fired central heating boilers in the link structure between the church and the new vestry, to replace a single 17 year old gas-fired boiler installed in the same link structure and a 25 year old oil-fired boiler installed in a Victorian boiler-house 20 metres from the church. There was one written objection that the proposed installation would take up valuable storage space. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty.

The Parochial Church Council proposed a reordering of the church interior, including: modifications to the west end of the church to provide improved access, WC facilities, baby changing, staircase to balcony, meeting room and kitchen; relocation and modification of the west end doors and Georgian balcony, screen and balustrade; provision of 70 chairs to be used on the reinforced balcony; the removal of all the nave pews and their replacement with 130 chairs. This judgment is limited to the replacement of the nave pews with chairs. The Church Buildings Council and English Heritage were parties opponent. The Chancellor determined that the petitioners had made a good case for the replacement of the pews and granted a faculty, subject to a condition that the replacement of the pews was not to be carried out until the petitioners had obtained a faculty for the otherĀ  proposed items of reordering.

A substantial internal reordering was proposed for a Grade II* listed church, as well as extensive external works. There were objections from the Victorian Society and several individuals, none of whom sought to be parties opponent. The principal objection of all the objectors was to the removal of the pews (to be replaced with upholstered chairs). The pews were installed in 1952, to replace the former pews destroyed by bomb damage to the church during the Second World War. The Chancellor was "satisfied that the benefits that are potentially available significantly outweigh [the] detriment and that the interests of this church in terms of its remaining a living entity for generations to come requires change rather than no change." Faculty granted.

The proposed reordering included re-plastering and redecoration; reordering of the west end of the nave by the creation of an enclosed, separately heated, community area and associated kitchen facilities; re-location of the font; relocation of a memorial; removal of the rear row of nave pews; and the addition of glass doors at the main entrance of the Church. The most controversial element was the proposed new meeting room at the west end of the church. The Victorian Society maintained that it would not harmonise with the rest of the church building. However, the Deputy Chancellor determined that the petitioners had made a clear and convincing justification for the proposed works. He accordingly granted a faculty.

The petition comprised two proposals for the Grade II Victorian church: firstly, "a relatively modest re-ordering of the north aisle and related works" and, secondly, the formation of a car park. There was one objector, who chose not to become a party opponent. Applying the approach of the Court of Arches in Re St Alkmund Duffield [2013] Fam 158, the Chancellor was satisfied that the works, if implemented, would not result in harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

Proposals for reordering related principally to the south aisle of the church, which is wider than the nave. The church has a Grade I listing, and is described as "heavily pewed". The main proposal was to remove the pews from the south aisle and replace them with stackable, chrome-framed, upholstered chairs, in order to provide greater and more flexible use of the south aisle, the church not having a church hall. The Chancellor was satisfied that the benefits to the church of replacing the pews outweighed any harm caused by their, and therefore granted a faculty for the replacement of the pews. However, he did not grant permission for chrome-framed chairs, but approved stackable Howe 40/4 chairs in oak frames, which had been considered as an alternative, but were more expensive. Appended to the judgment are further directions regarding the approval of Theo oak stacking chairs made by Chorus.