London Consistory Court: Cameron Ch, November 2000
The chancellor heard two petitions relating to the operation of a vegetarian restaurant in the crypt of St Mary-le-Bow. The first petition sought permission for the variation of a licence in order that the restaurant could operate during the evening and could serve alcohol. The second petition sought a faculty for the modernisation of the crypt, including the placing of tables and chairs in the area of the crypt known as the Court of Arches. At the hearing it became clear that the Court of Arches area was already being used by the restaurant, in breach of a faculty granted in 1994. The chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty for the continued use of the Court of Arches by the restaurant on the condition that no changes were made to the fabric of the building and that only moveable items were used. The Court of Arches area was to be cleared to permit the sitting of the Court of Arches, the Vicar General's Court and the Consistory Court upon proper notice being given. The chancellor further granted a faculty authorising the variation of the licence for the operation of the restaurant between 5pm and 10pm on weekdays and for alcohol to be served. The sale of alcohol was subject to the condition that it was not to be sold without a food order and last orders were to be taken at 9pm. Unannounced visits to the restaurant were required to ensure proper adherence to the licence granted, together with annual reports to the PCC regarding the operation of the restaurant. The chancellor stated that the primary purpose of church use is for worship and uses connected thereto. Emphasis was placed upon the responsibilities of incumbents and churchwardens to obtain a faculty before permitting secular use of the church building and to monitor closely the terms of any licence granted for such use. Annual reporting to the PCC in relation to any such use of church buildings was recommended.
(2001) 6 Ecc LJ 164-165