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Reordering

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Reordering proposals included: tiling; redecoration; creation of a coffee area by removing five pews; modification to the font; removal of choir stalls; accessible lavatory; a galley kitchen; removal of further pews to create a new vestry; some new stackable, upholstered chairs; and renewal of the heating and electrical systems. The small aging congregation of the church wished to increase the flexibility of use of the church and thus increase the numbers of those who attend church. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposals, if implemented, would result in little if any significant harm to the church as a building of special architectural or historical interest, and accordingly granted a faculty.

A faculty had been granted in 2014 to authorise the redecoration of the interior of the church with four coats of limewash. When the old emulsion was removed, the walls looked in poor condition and it was thought that four coats of limewash would not be sufficient to cover the walls, which were “patchy” and “deep green” in various areas. The architect favoured a product called Zinsser Grade 1 paint. He obtained the PCC's permission to use it and instructed the contractors to use the paint instead of limewash, which the contractors reluctantly did. Within a month of application, the paint was pealing off the walls. The Chancellor asked the Archdeacon to apply for a restoration order, which the Archdeacon did. The Chancellor granted an order, stating that the architect should not have directed the use of an alternative covering without obtaining first a variation of the faculty. And the Chancellor directed that the architect should meet the cost of the remedial work.

The Vicar and churchwarden of a 12th century Grade II listed church sought permission to replace the pews and pew platforms with chairs, to provide underfloor heating and to carry out other ancillary work. In considering the guidelines laid down in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013], the Chancellor determined that: "The petitioners have satisfied me on the information placed before the court that the public benefit would outweigh any harm." Faculty granted.

This judgment is supplemental to a judgment given by the Chancellor in June 2015, when he approved a scheme of re-ordering, but postponed a decision on the type of chair to replace the pews, in order to give the PCC more time to consider various options. In the present judgment, the Chancellor declined to authorise two types of chair (some for 'core' seating and some for 'supplementary' seating). For the sake of uniformity, he authorised only one type of chair: "Introducing a variety of chairs from two different manufacturers, some with arms, some without, some upholstered, some not, would compromise the genius of the reordering which is to create a unified and holistic worship space."

The petitioners sought a faculty for an extension to the Grade I listed church, to provide facilities including lavatories, a Sunday school space, kitchen facilities, a meeting room and a storage area. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had written an initial letter expressing concerns about the proposals, but did not respond to the Chancellor's directions to give further particulars of their objections, nor to an invitation to become a party to the proceedings. The Diocesan Advisory Committee, local planning authority, English Heritage and the Council for the Care of Churches approved the proposals. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Petition for scheme including removal of pews and pew platforms at the back of the nave and in the north aisle and the construction of a new floor at the same level as existing aisles; installation of a kitchen at the back of the north aisle; introduction of new cupboards in the north transept; introduction of new chairs; improvements to the heating system". Faculty granted. The judgment contains a discussion as to what constitutes "demolition" or "partial demolition".

The petitioners sought a confirmatory faculty for works carried out some years before, including two areas of temporary reordering at the east end of the nave and the east end of the south aisle, the introduction of a grand piano, the removal of pews at the west end of the north aisle to allow for the introduction of a timber carving of the nativity by Graham Clarke and the making permanent of an audio visual installation. The Commissary General granted a faculty, subject to a condition, inter alia, that the petitioners should discuss with the Diocesan Advisory Committee ways of mitigating the visually intrusive reflective aspect of the audio-visual screens.

The petitioners sought a faculty for an extensive re-ordering and refurbishment of the Grade II church. There were seventy objectors, of whom three became parties opponent. The Chancellor approved the proposals relating to reordering of the West Gallery; demolition of the redundant boiler house and building of an extension to provide a meeting room, kitchen and toilet facilities; reordering of the Chancel; glazing to the South Door; and refurbishment of the pulpit, but felt that the petitioners had not made out a sufficient case to justify the remaining items, including reordering of the pews; relocation and reordering of the font; removal of the pulpit; and removal of the organ.

The 2010 Faculty for reordering was amended to allow for certain consequential works, which included approval for the remodelling of the pulpit steps.

The Petitioner sought permission to move the font to a position in an area immediately to the west side of the main entrance to the church in the north wall and to remove three pews and install a redundant choir stall frontal in order to create a Baptistery area around the repositioned font. (This was a different proposal to the one contained in the 2010 petition for reordering.) The Chancellor decided to grant a faculty, as the proposal would fit in with and complement the changes for which permission had already been given.