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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 24 November 2021

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site, as at 24 November 2021

Reordering

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Faculty granted for a major re-ordering project.

The reordering works approved by a faculty granted in 2015 had not been completed within the time allowed. A new petition was presented, requesting authority to carry out the remaining items of work. Historic England and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had concerns about certain aspects of the proposals (including the pews, the heating system, raising the floors, carpeting, the screens and the glazing). However, the Chancellor was satisfied that a case had been made for the proposals and granted a faculty.

Reordering proposals included: tiling; redecoration; creation of a coffee area by removing five pews; modification to the font; removal of choir stalls; accessible lavatory; a galley kitchen; removal of further pews to create a new vestry; some new stackable, upholstered chairs; and renewal of the heating and electrical systems. The small aging congregation of the church wished to increase the flexibility of use of the church and thus increase the numbers of those who attend church. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposals, if implemented, would result in little if any significant harm to the church as a building of special architectural or historical interest, and accordingly granted a faculty.

There was no suitable place within the church to construct a toilet, which would provide disabled access. It was therefore proposed to construct a free-standing disabled toilet adjacent to the east side of the north porch of the church, with associated water, drainage and electrical connections. There were letters of objection from five parishioners. The main objection related to the location of the proposed structure. The Chancellor was satisfied that the provision of a disabled toilet was appropriate and that the location to the east of the north porch would be the least problematic within the site. He therefore granted a faculty.

The Rector and Churchwardens wished to create an educational area in the east end of the south aisle of the church dedicated to the life and work of the Reverend John Newton (1725-1807) and to introduce into the church an informative display. (John Newton was a reformed slave ship captain, who was the curate-in-charge of the church from 1764 to 1780 and the author of the hymn 'Amazing Grace'.) The work would involve the removal of four pews, and the seat from a fifth pew.  Notwithstanding the current sensitivity relating to the display in public places of things relating to the slave trade, the Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the display would "recognise the vital contributions made to the abolition of the vile trade in human flesh by African and other global majority heritage writers and abolitionists, women and working class reformers, rather than simply focusing upon the work of prominent, white, upper and middle class male abolitionists ..."

A faculty had been granted in 2014 to authorise the redecoration of the interior of the church with four coats of limewash. When the old emulsion was removed, the walls looked in poor condition and it was thought that four coats of limewash would not be sufficient to cover the walls, which were “patchy” and “deep green” in various areas. The architect favoured a product called Zinsser Grade 1 paint. He obtained the PCC's permission to use it and instructed the contractors to use the paint instead of limewash, which the contractors reluctantly did. Within a month of application, the paint was pealing off the walls. The Chancellor asked the Archdeacon to apply for a restoration order, which the Archdeacon did. The Chancellor granted an order, stating that the architect should not have directed the use of an alternative covering without obtaining first a variation of the faculty. And the Chancellor directed that the architect should meet the cost of the remedial work.

The Vicar and churchwarden of a 12th century Grade II listed church sought permission to replace the pews and pew platforms with chairs, to provide underfloor heating and to carry out other ancillary work. In considering the guidelines laid down in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013], the Chancellor determined that: "The petitioners have satisfied me on the information placed before the court that the public benefit would outweigh any harm." Faculty granted.

This judgment is supplemental to a judgment given by the Chancellor in June 2015, when he approved a scheme of re-ordering, but postponed a decision on the type of chair to replace the pews, in order to give the PCC more time to consider various options. In the present judgment, the Chancellor declined to authorise two types of chair (some for 'core' seating and some for 'supplementary' seating). For the sake of uniformity, he authorised only one type of chair: "Introducing a variety of chairs from two different manufacturers, some with arms, some without, some upholstered, some not, would compromise the genius of the reordering which is to create a unified and holistic worship space."

The petitioners sought a faculty for an extension to the Grade I listed church, to provide facilities including lavatories, a Sunday school space, kitchen facilities, a meeting room and a storage area. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had written an initial letter expressing concerns about the proposals, but did not respond to the Chancellor's directions to give further particulars of their objections, nor to an invitation to become a party to the proceedings. The Diocesan Advisory Committee, local planning authority, English Heritage and the Council for the Care of Churches approved the proposals. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Petition for scheme including removal of pews and pew platforms at the back of the nave and in the north aisle and the construction of a new floor at the same level as existing aisles; installation of a kitchen at the back of the north aisle; introduction of new cupboards in the north transept; introduction of new chairs; improvements to the heating system". Faculty granted. The judgment contains a discussion as to what constitutes "demolition" or "partial demolition".