Bath and Wells Consistory Court: Briden Ch, May 2002
A faculty was sought and granted for the installation of a raised platform in the tower of this Grade I listed church. The platform would serve as a floor for bell-ringing, would be in the same position as a previously existing gallery and would be accessed through a new doorway from the existing tower stair. Objections to the creation of a new doorway in the tower were received from English Heritage and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. The chancellor found that the design of the proposed doorway and the absence of viable alternatives weighed in favour of the granting of a faculty. A further objection was received from three parishioners that the project was an expensive luxury which the parish can ill afford. Following his earlier judgment in Re St Catherine, Montacute (1996, unreported) the chancellor stated that the settled practice of the court is to refrain from interfering with decisions reached by PCCs in accordance with their rules of procedure. In considering whether or not to grant a faculty the chancellor or archdeacon will want to know whether funds are available. There may be other exceptional circumstances in which the proposed manner of funding will affect the decision whether to grant a faculty, but it is not a ground for interference that a PCC decides one call on its assets to be more pressing than another. He added that it was common practice to grant faculties on condition that no contract shall be entered into until a proportion of funding (commonly at least two-thirds) is in place. In this case the PCC had sufficient funds so no interference was necessary.
(2003) 7 Ecc LJ 100