Coventry Consistory Court: Gage Ch, June 2000
The petitioners sought a faculty to replace an existing Victorian window with a stained glass window designed with an abstract interpretation of the words 'When he, the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth'. The idea of a window had been canvassed throughout the village and two open meetings were held. The DAC recommended the grant of a faculty, the CCC supported in principle millennium projects of this sort, thought the design was acceptable but regarded the existing glass worthy of retention. There were a number of objectors. The chancellor outlined the approach he would take in relation to the law concerning listed churches, referring to St Luke the Evangelist, Maidstone  Fam 1, which involved radical changes to the church unlike the petition in question. As there were now a large number of petitions for millennium windows the chancellor decided to give general guidance for the approach he would take in such cases.
(1) As the church was a listed building the strong presumption against change which would adversely affect its character as a building of architectural or historic interest will be adhered for this sort of petition;
(2) In cases involving a millennium window the first question the court will ask is whether the new window adversely affects the character of the building as a building of special architectural or historical interest;
(3) If the answer to (2) above is no, then the court will still need to give effect to the presumption against change to a listed building but that presumption may be more readily rebutted;
(4) If the answer to (2) above is yes, the petitioners will need to show a necessity for change;
(5) When the court is considering whether a necessity for change has been proved different considerations will apply where a window is involved than in cases involving reordering or more radical alterations. Each case will vary and be dealt with on its own individual facts.
The chancellor applied the tests outlined above and granted the faculty on the condition that the glass that was to be taken out should be preserved.
Note: This case is fully reported at  4 All ER 378.
(2001) 6 Ecc LJ 82