Judgment Search



The Chancellor decided that the proposed new wall-to-wall carpet and the 'bland', black chairs were inappropriate for a Grade II* and important Victorian church in the centre of Brighton, but he granted a limited licence for five years, requiring the petitioners at the end of such period to produce more appropriate long-term proposals.

The petition proposed the formation of a new meeting room/children’s area, enclosed by timber and glass; removal of some pews in the nave, the nave aisle and the south aisle, and their replacement with chairs; lowering the raised pew platforms in these areas; disposal of a timber screen to the St. John’s Chapel; and alterations to heating and electrical systems, including the replacement of the existing boiler with a new oil fired boiler. There was one party opponent, objecting to the removal of some of the pews and to the meeting room. The Deputy Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had provided sufficient justification for the works and granted a faculty. As regards costs, the Deputy Chancellor determined that the party opponent had behaved unreasonably in certain aspects of the proceedings and directed that the party opponent should reimburse the petitioners 50% of the court costs attributable to the progression of the case to an oral hearing and 50% of the petitioners' inter partes costs, namely their counsel's fees.

The petitioners sought a faculty to authorise the movement of the altar westwards by 60cm to increase the amount of space behind the altar for celebrating the Eucharist. Applying the tests laid down in Re St Alkmund’s Duffield [2013], the Deputy Chancellor took the view that the proposals would not cause any harm to the church as a building of special architectural and historic significance, and accordingly granted a faculty.

The petitioners sought a faculty for the construction of a parish room (by way of extension) to the south of the church. Two neighbours and another parishioner objected, though there were no objections from the local planning authority (who in fact granted planning consent) or the amenity societies. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

An extensive reordering was proposed for a Grade II listed Victorian church. The Victorian Society and Heritage England, though not parties opponent, objected to the replacement of most of the pews with chairs, replacement of the dado panelling and replacement of the stone and wood floor with new wooden flooring. The Chancellor determined that the resulting public benefit (including liturgical freedom, pastoral well-being, opportunities for mission, and putting the church to viable uses that were consistent with its role as a place of worship and mission) would outweigh any harm that would be caused by the changes.

There was a proposal to build an extension to the north-east corner of the church, which would involve the demolition of a 19th century vestry. There were 16 parties opponent and many other objectors by letter. The need for the extension was as a result of the sale of a building opposite the church, which had been used by many church groups, but had fallen into great disrepair. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposed extension would not result in harm to the significance of the church as a
building of special architectural or historic interest, and he accordingly granted a faculty.

Petition for installation of replacement sound system and installation of a projector screen in a Grade I church. Objections from Church Buildings Council and Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in respect of the screen. Re St Alkmund Duffield considered. Faculty granted for both items.

The Rector and Churchwardens petitioned for a faculty to authorise the removal of a large Victorian font and its platform from a position near to the main church door of a small medieval church and the placing of a new, much smaller font of Purbeck stone at the east end of the nave. The Chancellor granted a Faculty. As to a proposal to bury the old font, the Chancellor did not consider that appropriate and made the faculty subject to the following conditions: "(a) every reasonable attempt should be made to transfer the font to another church or chapel, (b) failing such transfer, museums should be contacted, (c) failing a museum, sale on the open market should be considered, (d) whatever disposal is contemplated, my prior consent will be required."

This was an appeal by the Victorian Society against the judgment of the Chancellor of Winchester Diocese of 12 March 2015, granting a faculty to replace the existing, Victorian font in the church with a new font made of Purbeck stone. The new font would be smaller than the Victorian font and would be installed on the south eastern, as opposed to south western, side of the nave. The Court decided that the Chancellor had erred and acted unfairly in his purported application of the written representations procedure, and that his judgment on the merits was flawed by several errors of law. Accordingly, the Court ordered that both his judgment and the resulting faculty be set aside.

The Petitioners wished to replace the Victorian pews with 64 solid chairs and 48 folding chairs (the folding chairs to be housed in three purpose-built wooden cabinets). The written representations of 25 objectors were taken into account. Amongst the evidence it was contended that the pews were of historical significance as they were thought to have been designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The Deputy Chancellor concluded that there was insufficient evidence to justify such contention. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty, subject (inter alia) to the retention of eight short pews.