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Faculties, Changes & Repairs
Making almost any physical change to your church building, its contents or to the churchyard requires permission from the Consistory Court of the Diocese, called a Faculty. This gives you authorisation to carry out the work and is part of the Church of England’s own system of building control, which is called the Faculty Jurisdiction. This system ensures that church buildings are properly cared for and that whatever is done to them is properly considered beforehand and carried out in the most appropriate way. It also takes the place of Listed Building Consent.
How to obtain a Faculty
First, check that you do need a Faculty. Works not requiring Faculty consent are listed here.
Articles to help you during the Faculty process, and to advice on making changes to your church, are available here:
Seek advice and guidance from the Care of Churches team
You start the process by contacting the Care of Churches team with details of your proposal. The team will check the application to make sure you have the correct information to present to the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC), a body made up of experts in all areas of church life and building management. The purpose of the DAC is to give advice to those responsible for the care and maintenance of churches. The DAC does not itself grant Faculties, but the Chancellor will normally give due weight to its advice.
Apply for a Certificate from the DAC
To apply for a Faculty from the Consistory Court you will first need a Certificate, issued by the DAC. Obtaining this document is the first part of the application process.
The DAC will discuss your case at one of its monthly meetings. A member of the Care of Churches team will contact you with the DAC’s advice and explain what is going to happen next. Members may wish to carry out a site visit so they can understand better what is intended. Discussions may also include bodies such as the Church Buildings Council, English Heritage, the National Amenity Societies and the Local Authority. Their response will inform the DAC’s view.
When the DAC is content with the proposal, a member of the Care of Churches team will send you a Certificate.
Obtain a Faculty from the Chancellor
As part of the Faculty process you must display a Notice for 28 days inside and outside the church, describing the works you intend to carry out, to give parishioners and anyone else with an interest in the building the chance to comment or object. Comments or objections are sent directly to the Diocesan Registrar. You do not need to wait until the expiry of the Notice to submit your application. Send this, or a copy, with the Certificate to the Registry.
While the Faculty jurisdiction exempts you from Listed Building Control, and Conservation Area Consent, if applicable, it does not exempt you from the need to obtain planning permission, so make sure you check with your Local Authority if this is required once you have got your Certificate.