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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

Reordering

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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.

The proposed works comprised the installation of a new heating system; the installation of an additional toilet; and the reconfiguring of part of the building used as the ‘Youth Room’. (The church is a "resourcing church",  with special funding from the Church Commissioners’ Strategic Development Fund for the purpose of growing the congregation to around 250 people and generating energy and resources for further church-planting elsewhere in the diocese.) Bearing in mind the Church of England's commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030, the Chancellor was concerned about the proposal to install a new gas-fired heating system. However, an expert report indicated that the proposed new system should reduce overall gas usage by 35%. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to a condition that gas supplied under a green tariff should be used where possible.

As the next stage in a programme of reordering, the petitioners wished to remove the old stone font and tall suspended font cover from the south-west corner of the church and place a newly designed timber and copper font at the west end of the central aisle. The proposal was for the old font to go to a Roman Catholic church in West Grinstead without the cover, which was too large to be accommodated at the West Grinstead church, or to otherwise dispose of the font and the cover by sale. The Chancellor determined that the font should be transferred to West Grinstead without the cover, which should be retained in the church of St. Thomas. The Chancellor considered whether she could authorise a new font without a cover, in view of Canon F1, which states that there “shall be provided a decent font with a cover”. She concluded that she could not, and therefore made it a condition of the faculty that a cover should be designed to fit the new font, the design to be agreed by the Diocesan Advisory Committee or approved by the Chancellor.

Proposals for reordering included: replacement flooring;  replacement heating scheme and underfloor heating; replacement of nave pews with chairs; removal of the side chapel platform and communion rail; construction of a dais or platform with a removable communion rail; removal of the pulpit and the choir stalls;  provision of a ramped access to the chancel and the vestry; replacement of the audio-visual installation. There were several objections, principally to the removal of the pulpit and choir stalls in the chancel. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners have provided compelling evidence of need to justify the grant of a faculty for the major reordering.

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.

A major reordering was proposed in order to accommodate a huge increase in use of the church following its designation as new Resource Church. The proposed works included replacement of pews with chairs, creation of meeting rooms in the galleries, facilities for hospitality, and a baptistry for full immersion. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the works were necessary to meet the church's needs and support its mission, and that  the needs outweighed the consequential loss of special architectural and/or historic interest that would necessarily follow.

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.