London Consistory Court; Sheila Cameron Ch., 26 November 1993
The incumbent and churchwardens sought a faculty for the repair and the reordering of the listed church following a bomb explosion in the City of London. The major items of work included the formation of a new gallery in the west end for additional seating and the repositioned organ, the removal and repositioning of the chancel screens and the reredos and the construction of a new east end window, a new west end south transept door and a new roof. Aesthetic and conservation issues were raised in which the wider community had an interest for the proposed works would substantially affect the exterior as well as the interior appearance of the church. The City, English Heritage and various amenity societies were directed to be specially cited. Following citation objections were lodged by four of those bodies. Where a faculty was sought the burden of proof rested with the petitioners who proposed the changes and to show whether any proposed development was necessary for the well-being of the church. Bodies such as the D.A.C. were now obliged to have regard to the role of a church as a local centre of worship and mission as well as to the interests of conservation, but that might not apply to the court whose function was to hear and determine a cause of faculty and not to carry out functions of care and conservation. It was permissible to take account of non-local worship and mission functions, for the church was a focal point, and there was no restriction to persons who worshipped in the church or to an area which might be covered by the mission which flowed from the church. That certain items of work such as a new roof and repairs to the windows were needed in principle was clear but the petitioners argued on grounds of improved visibility, additional seating and ease of access. The whole use of the church for the purposes of worship had to be taken into account when assessing the needs of the congregation. The major changes proposed, with the exception of the removal of the reredos, were necessary for the pastoral and physical well-being of the worshipping congregation and would not adversely affect the character of the church but would enhance its appearance and improve its spatial quality. A conditional faculty was granted.
(1993) 3 Ecc LJ 256-257