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Reordering

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The vicar and churchwardens sought a faculty to reorder the west end of the church by extending the west gallery to the north and west aisles, to introduce an accessible WC below the north-west corner of the extended gallery and enhance the existing catering facilities and musicians’ area. They also proposed introducing speakers into the chancel and the making good of tiles in the floor at the front of the church. The Victorian Society was a party opponent. The Chancellor was satisfied that "any prejudice to the architectural integrity is outweighed by the pastoral and liturgical benefits and applying the balance of probabilities the Petitioners have made out their case." He accordingly granted a faculty.

The petition contained a number of items including proposals for lighting inside and outside the church. A parishioner objected to the proposed lighting of the spire on the ground that it would cause a lot of light pollution. The petitioners responded that they had taken their architect's advice and also that of a specialist lighting consultant and as a result they are looking to use modern LED type lights which minimise light pollution by focusing the light to specific areas and thereby minimising spill and light pollution. The Chancellor was also aware of a recent visit by an officer of the planning department, who had recommended the fixing of the external light sources on the stonework, rather than on poles, and had not raised any concerns about light pollution. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made their case and granted a faculty.

In 2005 pews had been removed from the side aisles of the church and had been replaced with chairs upholstered with a blue fabric. Also, carpet tiles in two contrasting blue colours had been laid in a chequer-board pattern in the aisles. The petitioners now wished to lay similar carpet tiles and introduce more upholstered chairs into the nave, to create 'a more flexibe space'. (There was also a proposal to update the heating.) The Victorian Society objected to the removal of the pews and further carpet tiles, but was not a party opponent. In spite of slight reservations about the blue colour of the carpet tiles, the Chancellor concluded that the scheme would "give a more unified appearance and will serve the aims that the petitioners seek to achieve." He accordingly granted a faculty.

Re St. Thomas Charlton [2017] ECC Win 2 The petitioners wished to install an audio visual system in the body of the unlisted church, with a motorised screen located behind the chancel arch, a projector mounted on a roof cross beam and cabling to the rear of the church to a control location. There were two written objections on the grounds that (a) the equipment would be intrusive, and (b) the PCC could not afford the cost of the works. The Chancellor considered that the benefit of improved communication technology being introduced outweighed the general presumption that change should not be permitted. He accordingly granted a faculty.

The petitioners sought to replace certain pews with upholstered chairs in a Grade II listed church. Applying the tests in Re St. Alkmund Duffield, the Chancellor determined that there was clear and convincing justification for carrying out the proposals and that any harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest would be minor. Faculty granted.

The church, which is listed Grade I, dates back to the 14th century, but the current layout is Victorian. The proposals included removal of the screens on either side of the chancel steps and their relocation on the east wall of the church, adjacent to the high altar and slightly behind the riddle posts, as well as some alterations to the choir stalls. The Chancellor was satisfied that the benefits of the proposals - allowing the congregation to engage more with the Eucharist, due to improved sight lines, and greater flexibility of use for the reordered space - would outweigh what he considered to be a low degree of harm to the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest, and he granted a faculty.

The petition proposed a substantial reordering, to include: replacement of the remaining pews and some green upholstered chairs with metal framed chairs upholstered in neutral-coloured fabric; the lowering of the timber pew platforms to create a level floor in the nave; the removal of some of the chancel furniture; new lighting and audio-visual equipment; and various repairs. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the majority of the items, but was not prepared for the lectern and reader's desk to be removed, being part of the church's set of liturgical furniture. He also required that once the worn carpet on the chancel step had been removed, the step should remain uncovered.

Proposed reordering works included re-ordering the replacement of the current heating system, the replacement of the pews with chairs, the installation of new flooring, the installation of a new kitchen and disabled toilet facilities, the improvement of access for those in wheelchairs and the converting of the warden`s pews at the back of the nave into cupboards. The purpose of the re-ordering of the Church was to open up the Church for community use, as part of its outreach to the mainly Muslim community in the parish. The Chancellor was satisfied that the reordering would be a major public benefit outweighing any harm resulting from it.

A major reordering of the Grade I church was proposed, including: a new timber floor with under-floor heating; a new ringing floor and glass screening to the tower; replacement of the pews with light-weight metal-framed chairs with wooden seats and backs; kitchenette and storage facilities; new lighting and audio-visual equipment. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for improving the church and its usability for both church and community use, in order to prevent further decline in the use of the church.

Faculty granted for the construction of a disabled toilet and storage space in the former organ chamber, and a kitchenette at the west end of the north aisle.