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Reordering

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The Dean of Arches refused the Victorian Society leave to appeal against the decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese to allow the replacement of the Abbey's nave pews with chairs.

Decision on costs in respect of the Re Bath Abbey [2018] EACC 1.

The petition proposed various items of reordering. The Victorian Society had initial reservations about the removal of all but two pews and the replacement of the pews with upholstered chairs, but later withdrew their objection in favour of solid wood (unupholstered) chairs. The Society also objected to the carpeting of the nave and the erection of a partition to create a meeting room, WC and kitchen. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to a condition that the replacement chairs should be of solid wood and not upholstered.

The Chancellor granted a faculty granted for replacement of a oil-fired boiler with gas boilers, notwithstanding that a parishioner had concern that the proposals would cause unnecessary damage to the building.

The petition included extensive proposals to carry out re-ordering at the (liturgical but not geographical) west end of the church, where a considerable amount of re-ordering had taken place in the 1980s and 1990s. The Victorian Society objected to the replacement with glass doors of two pairs of partly-glazed wooden lobby doors at the Brixton Road entrance. Applying the Duffield principles, the Chancellor found that, "there is clear and convincing justification for the proposals in terms of the benefits to the mission of the church. The benefits outweigh the very limited harm which I have identified to the significance of the listed building." Faculty granted.

The Petition contained proposals for the complete re-wiring and the installation of new and emergency lighting within the Grade II listed church. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposed works would not alter the Grade II church to such an extent as to be likely to affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and he accordingly granted a faculty.

The Petition sought to make permanent a temporary reordering carried out under an Archdeacon's licence: to relocate the altar to the nave; to remove two front pews (one from either side of the aisle) and making good the floor; and to install two portable communion rails. The Victorian Society and five parishioners objected to the proposals, but did not become parties to the proceedings. The Chancellor was satisfied that the changes did not make a significant impact on the character of the church, and that what small impact they made could be justified by the improvement of access and circulation.

Petition for re-ordering, including partial removal or shortening of pews; levelling of floor to improve access; installation of accessible WC; installation of “brew facilities”; installation of a glazed screen to create meeting/creche area; installation  of new heating system. Objections by Church Building Council to partial removal of pews and type of heating. Judgment given on the basis of written representations. Faculty granted.

The petition proposed extensive reordering of the church and the creation of a link between the church and the church centre. The controversial item was a proposal to place a curtain wall behind the three arches at the front of the nave and to create within the then enclosed chancel (designed by the well-known church architect George Pace) a meeting room, an office and storage area on three floor levels. The Chancellor considered that the proposal would harm the special character of the building and that the petitioners should consider alternatively ways of finding the meeting, office and storage space they required. The Chancellor therefore granted a faculty which excluded the proposals for the chancel.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the removal of a number of pews from the front of the nave of the unlisted church building, in order to allow greater flexibility of use of the church, subject to the condition that the pews should be stored in a part of the church, with liberty to apply for them to be removed permanently, if the experiment proved successful.