Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Reordering

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The proposed works comprised the construction of an extension at the west end of the south elevation of the church, to provide a lobby, toilets and kitchen, and the relocation of the font. The Chancellor determined that the public benefit of the changes to the Grade II listed church building would outweigh such harm to its significance as might result from the works.

Appeal allowed against refusal of Faculty for the relocation of the chancel screen.

The proposed works included: glazed, frameless inner doors; a new limestone floor with under-floor heating; the removal of a plywood ceiling, the oak reredos on the east wall, 1950s pews, a replacement organ, lighting and cables; the provision of new lighting and projection facilities; the introduction of chairs; and the construction of a freestanding ‘extension’ building in the churchyard. Five objectors did not wish to be parties opponent. The Deputy Commissary General deemed the changes wholly appropriate and granted a faculty.

The petition proposed various items of reordering. The Victorian Society had initial reservations about the removal of all but two pews and the replacement of the pews with upholstered chairs, but later withdrew their objection in favour of solid wood (unupholstered) chairs. The Society also objected to the carpeting of the nave and the erection of a partition to create a meeting room, WC and kitchen. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to a condition that the replacement chairs should be of solid wood and not upholstered.

Faculty granted for re-ordering, to include removal of some pews, creation of tiered gallery, use of chancel as hall/meeeting room, provision of liquid crystal screen, refurbishment of vestries, creation of prayer chapel, new WCs and kitchen.

The proposals were for a major reordering of the Grade II* church, which would cost over £500,000. There were seven parties opponent. The proposed works included the replacement of the nave pews with oak chairs; replacement of the Victorian tiles in the nave with sandstone flooring; the replacement of the existing vestry and boiler room with a new extension to house a parish room, toilet and kitchen; the provision of a servery; and other items to which there were no objections. Notwithstanding the objections, the Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the harm to the building would be modest, that the justification for the works was strong, and that the public benefit would outweigh any harm caused to the building.

The proposed works for the Grade II church included the replacement of the nave pews with oak chairs; the creation of a kitchen and Community Cafe; the installation of a disabled toilet; the creation of storage facilities; and new porch doors. Upon consideration of the guidelines laid down in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2012], the Chancellor determined to grant a faculty: " ...this seems to me to be a clear case where significant public benefit (including benefit to the listed building considered as such) outweighs modest harm so that I give a positive answer to the fifth of the Duffield questions."

Faculty granted for an extensive program of restoration and re-ordering of Epworth Church (where formerly Samuel Wesley was Rector and his son John Wesley was Curate). Objections to replacement of pews with chairs, the re-siting of the font, and the installation of a new bell-ringing floor overruled.

The petitioners sought a faculty to permit the replacement of the heating system in the Grade I listed church and the removal of the Victorian nave pews and their replacement with chairs. One parishioner and the Victorian Society objected, but neither wished to be a party opponent. The Chancellor decided that the public benefit resulting from the proposals outweighed the harm which would be caused and that therefore a faculty should issue.