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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022



In 2009, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield refused to grant a faculty for the introduction a raised area at the east end of the nave and the moving of four pews from the south aisle to the north aisle to allow space for a ramp to the raised area. The appeal was allowed.

The proposals were for extensive reordering of the Grade II church and the building of an extension in the churchyard to accommodate toilets, a kitchen, a store room, a meeting room and refurbished choir vestry and vicar's vestry and toilet. The extension would be built over one known grave of a married couple, who died in 1975 and 1980 respectively. The Chancellor was satisfied that, because the church extension would be built on piles, the grave would not be disturbed. He was also satisfied that the petitiners had discharged the burden of proving that (quoting Lord Penzance in Peek v Trower [1881]) "the church will be more convenient, more fit for the accommodation of the parishioners who worship there, more suitable, more appropriate, or more adequate to its purpose than it was before".

The priest-in-charge and churchwardens wished to carry out the following works: the disposal of 16 benches; the introduction of Alpha SB2M upholstered chairs; the installation of a screen and projector at the front of the church; the provision of a live link with the crèche; the installation of three metal gates outside to create a safer space for children; and the provision of a key safe. The Chancellor granted a facuty. The petitioners had produced a comprehensive Statement of Need to support the mission and growth of the church. However, the Chancellor did not consider that the peitioners had made a good case for upholstered chairs and the faculty was therefore subject to a condition that the chairs should not be upholstered.

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.

The priest-in-charge and churchwardens petitioned for the introduction of a set of altar frontals in liturgical colours for the main altar. The objects of their proposal were: "firstly to introduce the colours of the church’s liturgical year more prominently into the building and secondly to add colour to what is otherwise a relatively drab space apart from the windows." Two letters of objection were received. One objector questioned the appropriateness of such adornment, when funds might be better spent on outreach. The other objector considered it wrong to cover up the beautifully carved Victorian altar table. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioners had put forward a good argument for their proposal and that the objections did not amount to a good reason as to why the change should not be permitted.

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.

The petition proposed various items of reordering, including the replacement of pews with chairs, audio-visual facilities and a frameless glass door. The Victorian Society became a party opponent, objecting to the removal of pews from the nave. The Chancellor accepted the view of Counsel for the Society that the removal of the pews would result in serious harm to the significance of the church, and that therefore the need for change would have to be exceptional. However, the Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had set out a convincing case for the changes, and he therefore directed the issue of a faculty including, inter alia, a condition that a scheme should be prepared for adjustment and reuse of some of the pews in the church transepts.

The proposed works included alterations to the baptistry floor to provide a raised floor, level with the octagonal font plinth, and the covering of the raised floor and plinth with carpet tiles. The Chancellor accepted the advantages of having a uniform floor level in the baptistry and granted a faculty for that item and the associated works, which were the mounting of display boards on the three walls surrounding the font and associated lighting.

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.