Judgment Search

Reordering

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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 proposed works to the Grade II church involved a "a significant remodelling" of the porch. The Victorian Society, though not a party opponent, expressed strong objections that the works would involve the demolition of a “principal element” of the listed building, as the design would be so different from the original porch. Historic England expressed a preference for the porch being rebuilt close to its original design. The Diocesan Advisory Committee's only reservation was the proposed curtain heater over the door. The Chancellor determined that the benefits from the lighter and more comfortable and more welcoming internal arrangements which would result from the proposed glazing, outweighed the harm to the church’s special significance, and he therefore granted a faculty.

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.

A Faculty was granted to allow a temporary Post Office to be placed at the rear of the church, pending the provision of a new permanent Post Office site in the town.

The original stone floor of the church was on a slope and the pew bases were at different heights. The proposal was to remove the pews and pew bases and install a new floor ‘floating’ above the original floor, to create a smooth, flat surface. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to the condition that the choice of chairs to replace the pews was to be overseen by the acting Archdeacon.

A proposed reordering of the church included: removal of all the pews from the nave and side aisles; creation of a raised level floor throughout with underfloor heating; creation of 'pods' within the south and north aisles to house an office, kitchen and meeting room space above and chair storage; four WCs; relocation of the font; glazing in of the south transept chapel; glazed draught lobby. There were local objections and objections from some of the amenity societies. The Victorian Society made a formal objection. They objected to the pods, the removal of the pews, the raising of the floor, the impact loss of the removal of the chancel step, the underfloor heating above the columbarium , the glazing of the memorial chapel. The Chancellor granted a faculty: ‘I have, of course, considered the St Alkmund, Duffield test.  Are these “exceptional circumstances” where the public benefit outweighs the level of harm … It is with a somewhat heavy heart that I have to find that the needs of the parish and its current congregation are such that that test is made out.’

The petition proposed a major reordering, the controversial items of which were the removal of the pews and their replacement with upholstered chairs on a carpeted floor, and the removal of the choir stalls. The Chancellor was satisfied that a sufficient case had been made for the proposed works and granted a faculty.