Southwark Consistory Court; Gray Q.C. Ch., 14 December 1993
Following a fire which almost completely destroyed the church, two faculties were sought by petitions brought by the incumbent and churchwardens under section 17 of the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991 to demolish the walls and tower remains of the shell of the church. It was the intention of the petitioners to subsequently seek a faculty for the building of the new church on the cleared site. A consistory court, hearing petitions for the demolition of a church which was a listed building or in a conservation area, had to exercise its discretion whether to grant the faculties sought with great caution. There had to be detailed consultation with any interested party and full publicity
of the petitions had to be made. When dealing with petitions to demolish a church the court had to consider the architectural and historical importance of the building and the costs of maintaining or repairing it or of any possible alternative use to which the site offered. Where a petition brought under section 17 was likely to affect the architectural or historical importance of a church, evidence from the Council of the Care of Churches was to be sought. However, although the Council recommended the retention of the remains of the shell of the church, the court
was satisfied by the proposals and the intention of the petitioners to seek a faculty to build a new church on the cleared site, which course offered the best opportunity to continue the work of worship and mission in the locality. The architectural and historic importance of the burnt remains of the church did not in any event justify the expense required in repairing and maintaining them.
(1994) 3 Ecc LJ 257