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Planning law and faculty jurisdiction

20 June 2014


From Mr Paul Velluet
Sir, - It is very rare to have to question the normally very sound and sensible advice from the Revd Maggie Durran, but her guidance (Gazette, 6 June) on the need for Listed Building Consent for works to the outside of listed churches and other listed buildings needs to be queried.

In brief, Listed Building Consent for works of alteration or extension to the outside of a listed building is required only if the building does not enjoy "ecclesiastical exemption" under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990/The Ecclesiastical Exemption Order 2010 - i.e., is not being used for "ecclesiastical purposes", and is not subject to the control of the Church of England (under the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2000) or under the parallel provisions of the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, or the Baptist Union of Great Britain, and only then if the works affect the character of the building as a listed building.

Similarly and importantly, planning permission is not only required for a material change-of-use of part or of all a building, but also for any material change to the external appearance of the building, whether listed or unlisted, or whether or not subject to faculty control, except for development permitted under the General Permitted Development Order, 1995, as subsequently amended.

Finally, the display of signs and signboards, on churches and in churchyards, as indeed, on all other premises, is controlled by local planning authorities under the Control of Advertisements Regulations, 2007, as subsequently amended, rather than by normal planning permission, as Ms Durran suggests.

Indeed, there is specific provision for the display of signs on churches and other institutional buildings with "deemed consent" under Schedule 3, Class 2c of the regulations, subject to specific locational, dimensional, and other criteria. Such provision, however, does not remove the installation and display signs on Church of England churches and in churchyards from faculty control.

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