Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Re All Saints Leamington Hastings [2014] Stephen Eyre Ch. (Coventry)

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'.

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