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Reordering

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The proposals were for a major reordering, for most of which there were no objections. Amongst the amenity societies consulted, only the Victorian Society became a party opponent, objecting principally to the proposed removal from the nave of "one of the most magnificent and extensive suites of Victorian church seating in the country". In weighing the benefits which the proposals would bring against any loss to the historical and architectural importance of the church, the Chancellor had to consider the evidence of the petitioners as to the financial viability of the church if the works were not carried out. On balance he determined in favour of the petitioners and granted a faculty.

Faculty granted for £1m re-ordering program of works, including removal of pews, creation of vestry and office in chapel, heating, lighting, drainage and other internal works.

This was a determination of two faculty petitions in respect of the unlisted church building: (1) the replacement of the organ with a modern instrument, and (2) a major reordering scheme, to incorporate community facilities. The Parochial Church Council was proposing to partly fund the work from the sale of the adjoining dilapidated church hall. There were three parties opponent, including two employees of the Town Council. Faculty granted.

The petitioners proposed the removal of 15 unfixed and damaged Victorian pine pews with a view to providing more flexible use of the church for family services and community use, the pews to be replaced with 39 wooden chairs with upholstered seats. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a ‘robust justification’ for their proposals and granted a faculty.

The petitioners sought permission to remove four pews from the back of the church, in order to provide more room for the serving of refreshments and for accommodating buggies and wheelchairs. The church is Victorian and unlisted. There was one objector, who did not become a party opponent. The Chancellor, being satisfied that the works were both needed and appropriate, granted a faculty.

The former vicar and wardens wished to dispose of three of the four oak choir stalls and clergy seats removed pursuant to a Faculty granted on 29th September 2004 and to place the fourth stall in the lower vestry. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to remove the Victorian pews from a Grade II* listed church and replace them with wooden upholstered chairs. The Victorian Society and Historic England both accepted that the pews were of no particular merit, but objected to them being replaced with upholstered chairs, though they did not wish to be parties opponent. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the removal of the pews, on condition that the replacement chairs should be unupholstered and of a design to be agreed between the petitioners and the Diocesan Advisory Committee, and in default of such agreement to be decided by the Court.

In 2016 the Chancellor had granted a faculty for reordering works including the replacement of the pews with chairs. He had declined to approve upholstered chairs, but approved the introduction of unupholstered chairs. The petitioners now sought, after much research and consultation, an amendment of the 2016 faculty to authorise a different type of upholstered chair with upholstered seats and upholstered back pads within a wooden frame. The Chancellor concluded that "as the chairs are to have wooden frames and those frames are to have a dark stain applied to them, the additional visual impact of upholstered back pad, though real, will be modest. That additional impact is outweighed by the benefits to be obtained and by the fact that such chairs are the clear preference of the worshipping community after what I accept has been careful consideration of the alternatives." He therefore directed that the faculty granted in 2016 be amended accordingly.

The petition related to the south transept of the Grade I church and the installation of underfloor heating beneath a new stone floor; the provision of a discreet tea point; and the introduction of heritage boards. The historic memorial slabs laid into the floor would be left in situ, covered by the heating elements and the new floor. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings entered an objection and became a party opponent. The Chancellor dismissed the petition. He took the view that the proposals were unlikely to achieve what the parish seemed to want, namely, to heat the whole church which is ‘intolerably cold’ for several months of the year. The proposed underfloor heating in the south transept would only provide a partial solution, and one which would be largely compromised due to the inability to isolate the south transept as a sealed environment.

The petitioners wished to replace all the nave pews with chairs, level the floor and install underfloor heating and carpet the nave. The Chancellor granted a faculty.