Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Reordering

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The proposals for the Grade I listed church included the removal of the fixed pews in the nave, north aisle and choir, and their replacement with new moveable pew benches; also, the installation of underfloor heating. The Commissary General granted a faculty, but expressed concern that a contract had been signed with the contractor before the petition had been referred to her.

The petitioners sought permission for items of re-ordering, which included alterations to the chancel of the unlisted church, in order to permit more flexible worship as well as concerts. There were two objections, principally on aesthetic and financial grounds. The Chancellor granted a faculty to permit the removal of the three steps within the sanctuary and the removal of the carpet covering, the radiators and altar rails, subject to the petitioners producing within 12 months a final detailed specification for alterations to the chancel which would provide fitting arrangements for future worship and not just a platform for concerts. (See Re St. James the Apostle Islington [2016] ECC Lon 2)

The hearing in this case was supplemental to a faculty application determined by a hearing in January 2015 (see Re St. James the Apostle Islington [2015]), when the Chancellor granted a faculty for works to (inter alia) the chancel of the church. The present application also contained matters relating to the chancel. Two objectors in this case raised objections to the lighting only. The Chancellor ruled that the objections related only to procedural irregularities and not to the merits of the proposals. He therefore granted a faculty for all the additional works.

There was an unopposed petition for re-ordering, including removing an existing extension on the north side of the church and constructing a spacious hallway, welcome area, toilets and store connected to the church through a new doorway into the narthex. Applying the criteria laid down in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013] Fam 158, the Chancellor determined that any harm to the Grade II listed building would be slight, and accordingly granted a Faculty.

Faculty granted for the replacement of pews with chairs, carpeting and new heating in a Grade II Victorian church.

The petition proposed various reordering works to the Grade II church, including work on galleries and staircases and the provision of a lift and meeting rooms; and the sale of a painting from around 1600. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for reordering works, and that the public benefit would outweigh such harm as would be occasioned to the building. He granted a faculty or the items of reordering, but reserved judgment on the sale of the painting pending further representations, including as to whether there should be an open court hearing.

A faculty was sought for major re-ordering of an unlisted Victorian church, including relocation of the font, replacement of pews with chairs, re-flooring, new kitchen and toilets and relocation of a screen. The Church Buildings Council and the Diocesan Advisory Committee approved the proposals, and Historic England supported the Victorian Society, who approved the proposals subject to agreed amendments. A faculty was granted.

Faculty granted for re-ordering, including the creation of a complex of buildings for youth related activities, and removal and disposal of pews from the south aisle.

The Chancellor granted a faculty for (1) the removal of two rows of pews at the west end of the church, in order to create an area of more flexible use; (2) the provision of kitchen facilities in the vestry; (3) a hatch in the vetry screen; and (4) various electrical works.