Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Roofing

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In August 2013 there were two instances of the theft of lead from the roof of the south aisle of the church and a further attempt to steal the remaining lead. The removal of the lead caused rain damage to the organ. On 16th August 2013, at the request of the Parochial Church Council, the Chancellor authorised the removal of the remaining lead from the roof and its replacement by a substantial temporary covering. The Parochial Church Council chose to cover the roof with Dryseal GRP. The Petitioners sought a Faculty to authorise the retention of the GRP covering on a permanent basis, rather than replace the stolen lead with lead or terne-coated stainless steel. The Diocesan Advisory Committee, English Heritage and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings all considered that GRP was not appropriate as a permanent solution and favoured terne-coated steel. One of the PCC's arguments against steel (or indeed lead) was that, if the covering were again stolen, the insurers would limit a claim (including consequential damage) to £5,000 (or £10,000 if an alarm was fitted). The Chancellor decided that the insurance considerations should not be determinative of what was appropriate for the building. He decided that the GRP could remain for ten years, but must then be replaced by terne-coated steel or 'an equivalent metallic material'.

Faculty granted for the recovering of the north aisle roof of the church with Sarnafil. Refusal by the Chancellor to accede to a request by English Heritage that the Faculty be limited to a period of 10 years.

The Parochial Church Council wished to replace the stolen lead flashings from the church roof with Ubiflex, a material made up of reinforced aluminium mesh and a mixture of non-metallic materials. The church had a history of four lead thefts, and in 2011 the local authority had given planning permission to allow the roof to be recovered with stainless steel, though the lead flashings had been left. The PCC was financially unable to afford to replace the lead flashings with lead or steel. As a temporary expedient to preserve the fabric of the church, the Chancellor agreed to the use of Ubiflex, but required the PCC within 4 years to submit to the Registry a report on fund-raising to provide for a much longer lasting solution.

Faculty granted for the installation of 48 solar panels on the church roof.

A number of improvements were proposed to a 1950s unlisted church, including replacement of the felt roof covering with pre-coated zinc, replacement of windows; and improvements to the entrance to the church. The Twentieth Century Society objected to the proposals, but did not wish to become a party to the proceedings. Faculty granted.

Faculty granted to replace stolen lead roofing with a non-metal roofing material known as Ubiflex. Faculty limited to a period of five years.

A faculty had been granted for the re-roofing of the chancel of the Grade II* church, subject to a condition that such of the existing tiles as were in good condition should be re-used, with the addition of new tiles matching the existing ones in colour, shape, size, and texture. The petitioners now sought an amendment of the faculty to allow for only new tiles to be used. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not agree to the removal of the condition, saying that a wholesale replacement of the tiles would involve a significant loss of historic fabric in circumstances where this was not necessary. The Chancellor refused to remove the condition.

Confirmatory Faculties granted for a number of churches where lead thefts had taken place and licences had been granted for the use of alternative replacement materials. The Chancellor sets out some guidelines as to how the Court will deal with further requests from other parishes in the diocese for the replacement of stolen lead with other materials.

The PCC wished to replace lead stolen from the church porch roof with plain tiles. The DAC objected and felt that terne-coated stainless steel was preferable, as the porch had always had a metal roof. English Heritage were agreeable to either steel or tiles. After consideration of the decision in St Alkmund Duffield, the Chancellor determined that it would not be appropriate to put tiles on a roof which had historically had a metal roof covering, but terne-coated stainless steel would be an acceptable alternative to lead: " ... if the proposal for plain tiles was granted then this would result in harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest.  I am also satisfied that the level of harm done would far outweigh any benefit that could be obtained from the use of tiles over the use of [terne-coated steel]".