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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 4 June 2020

Index by Dioceses of all judgments on this web site, as at 4 June 2020

Churchyards

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Application for a Faculty for the replacement of existing structures in the churchyard of a redundant church appropriated by a pastoral scheme for the use of an Oxford college. The work to include a new gardener’s office, greenhouse and cold frames and three storerooms and the removal of existing sheds and other structures, new bicycle stands to replace old ones, new fencing and the relocation of six monuments. Faculty granted for relocation of memorials and for only such other items as could not be regarded as "buildings" within the meaning of the Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884, which prohibits the erection of buildings within a disused burial ground.

The proposal was to construct a ramp at the front of a 1960s church, facing an access from the road, in order to allow step-free access to the front of the church for the disabled. Objections were based on the design of the ramp, the possibility of its use by skateboarders and consequent safety issues, the fact that there was step-free access to the church from the car park at the rear, and difficulties of loading and unloading at the front of the church. Faculty granted.

The Chancellor determined to grant a faculty to allow part of the churchyard to be reused for burials, but proposed to stay the issue of the faculty until the parish had considered whether to ask for a set of bespoke churchyard regulations limiting the types of stone which could be used for memorials, in order to preserve the character of the unique setting of the small country church set in the middle of a field.

The churchwardens sought a faculty to authorise the felling of a Scots Pine tree. Two adults had recently been hit by falling pine cones, and there was a concern for the safety of children who used the footpaths next to the tree for access to pre-school events or the Sunday school. Two objectors (who did not become parties opponent) claimed that the loss of the tree would be detrimental to the visual amenity of the churchyard. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that a replacement tree of a species approved by the archdeacon should be planted during the current or next growing season at a location approved by the archdeacon.

The petition sought the removal of a row of conifers from the southern boundary of the churchyard and the planting of a hedge of the same kind as that along the eastern boundary. A neighbour objected, principally, on the grounds that the removal of the conifers would affect the privacy of his garden on the opposite side of the driveway between the conifers and his property. The Chancellor was satisfied that there would be little invasion of privacy, in view of the hedge separating the objector's garden from the driveway. The Chancellor accepted the reasons given by the petitioners for the works and granted a faculty.

The proposal was for the construction of a new extension to the north of the west end of the church, containing an accessible toilet, a store, a kitchen and a meeting room. The Church Buildings Council was concerned about the impact of the proposed extension on an adjacent 700+ years old yew tree, insofar as the proposed extension would affect about 25% of the 'root protection area'. The Chancellor was satisfied that a good case had been made for the new facilities, but with great reluctance he decided that he was unwilling to grant a faculty for the work as proposed, due to the risk of harm to the 'veteran' yew, but he hoped that with the assistance of the Diocesan Advisory Committee the parish would be able to come up with a viable alternative scheme.

The incumbent and churchwardens wished to grant a licence to a company to use part of the churchyard for temporary site offices and car parking, and to allow the fitting of electronically-controlled access gates. They also wished to dispose of some items of church furniture, which had been in storage for 10 years. The Victorian Society did not support the disposal of the lectern, a chair and some prayer desks. Historic England had reservations about the proposed new gates. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had reservations about the gates and also archaeological concerns. The Chancellor was satisfied with the proposals and granted a faculty.

An interim hearing at which the Chancellor approved part of the proposals contained in the Petition, namely, the demolition of the parish room extension on the north side of the church and its replacement with a new parish centre extension, leaving outstanding proposals for a new glass foyer to link the new parish centre with the west end of the church.

Faculty granted for foyer to link extension on the north side of the church to the west end; new west door; moving of the font; and external block paving.

The subject-matter of the petition was a piece of unconsecrated churchyard between the original churchyard and an adjacent lane. The proposal was to grant a 999 year lease of a strip of the unconsecrated land to the neighbour whose house lay at the end of the lane, which was of tapering width, in order to give the lane uniform width, to allow better access for cars and larger vehicles. There were objections from members of the family who owned the land on the opposite side of the lane. The Chancellor determined that the terms of the proposed lease would benefit both the neighbour and the church, and he granted a faculty. The judgment contains a discussion of the court's jurisdiction to permit the disposal of unconsecrated churchyard land.