Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Roofing


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'.

Faculty granted for the recovering of the north aisle roof of the church with Sarnafil. Refusal by the Chancellor to accede to a request by English Heritage that the Faculty be limited to a period of 10 years.

In 2009 the lead rainwater goods on the north side of the church were stolen and were replaced with like materials, which in turn were stolen in 2011. In 2012, in view of water ingress and damage to internal walls, the church sought approval for the immediate installation of GRP rainwater goods. The Diocesan Advisory Committee and English Heritage were unhappy about the use of GRP on a Grade I church. In July 2012 the Deputy Chancellor granted a temporary licence for GRP rainwater goods, subject to conditions. GRP rainwater goods were installed and the Church subsequently applied for a confirmatory faculty.The planning authority, SPAB and the Church Buildings Council objected to GRP. The Chancellor granted an interim faculty, allowing the GRP rainwater goods to remain for a further 5 years, after which they should be replaced with metal, if the general advice of the heritage bodies has not changed by the end of that period.

The Parochial Church Council wished to replace the stolen lead flashings from the church roof with Ubiflex, a material made up of reinforced aluminium mesh and a mixture of non-metallic materials. The church had a history of four lead thefts, and in 2011 the local authority had given planning permission to allow the roof to be recovered with stainless steel, though the lead flashings had been left. The PCC was financially unable to afford to replace the lead flashings with lead or steel. As a temporary expedient to preserve the fabric of the church, the Chancellor agreed to the use of Ubiflex, but required the PCC within 4 years to submit to the Registry a report on fund-raising to provide for a much longer lasting solution.

Faculty granted for the installation of 48 solar panels on the church roof.

A number of improvements were proposed to a 1950s unlisted church, including replacement of the felt roof covering with pre-coated zinc, replacement of windows; and improvements to the entrance to the church. The Twentieth Century Society objected to the proposals, but did not wish to become a party to the proceedings. Faculty granted.

Faculty granted to replace stolen lead roofing with a non-metal roofing material known as Ubiflex. Faculty limited to a period of five years.

A faculty had been granted for the re-roofing of the chancel of the Grade II* church, subject to a condition that such of the existing tiles as were in good condition should be re-used, with the addition of new tiles matching the existing ones in colour, shape, size, and texture. The petitioners now sought an amendment of the faculty to allow for only new tiles to be used. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not agree to the removal of the condition, saying that a wholesale replacement of the tiles would involve a significant loss of historic fabric in circumstances where this was not necessary. The Chancellor refused to remove the condition.

Confirmatory Faculties granted for a number of churches where lead thefts had taken place and licences had been granted for the use of alternative replacement materials. The Chancellor sets out some guidelines as to how the Court will deal with further requests from other parishes in the diocese for the replacement of stolen lead with other materials.