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It is interesting to note how we lined up with the others in the ‘Big Five’: SPAB, the Georgian Group, and the Victorian Society were broadly with us. The Ancient Monuments Society was vehemently opposed to the continuation of the exemption.
The whole thing came round again in 1984, with a DoE consultation on the exemption. By this time the Faculty Jurisdiction Commission had come up with a significant concession: that planning departments and bodies such as the CBA would be notified of all faculty applications and should have the opportunity to intervene and be heard in an open hearing. It was also conceded that the exemption should be abolished as it extends to demolitions. The CBA again called for the introduction of effective controls, and the continuation of the exemption only in matters of maintenance and alteration of churches in use. One of the amenity bodies had changed sides: incensed by the loss of St Michael, Stourport, All Saints, Brixton and the acquiescence of the Church of England to the demolition of Holy Trinity, Rugby (a decision reversed by a non-statutory public inquiry), the Victorian Society was now arguing for the abolition of the exemption (for a spirited discussion, see the Vic Soc Annual 1981).
Through all the years of consultation and discussion, what exactly was achieved? The church kept its exemption, broadly speaking. The circular records some of the concessions:

o Demolitions under faculty require listed building consent.
Demolitions under the Pastoral Measure (ie of redundant churches) do not require listed building consent but the Church ofEngland has given an undertaking always to ask the DoE for a non-statutory public inquiry, if there is a reasoned objection from HBMC, the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches, the local authority and the national amenity bodies (including the CBA, which is not, strictly speaking, an amenity body). Note that even the Faculty Jurisdiction Council itself had counselled against the preservation of the exemption for total demolitions, but it remains. Great is the might of the Church of England.
o HBMC, the local authorities and the national amenity bodies are now represented on DACs. As noted above, the CBA has long been infiltrating DACs with field archaeologists through process of informal diplomacy and only two committees now lack archaeologists. The watchdog role is now extended beyond archaeological matters by the representation, of all the ‘Five’, through nominees of the Joint Committee of the Amenity Societies.
The Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment Rules) 1987 provide that all faculty appli
cations should be widely advertised and may be opposed to any interested persons. That includes the local authority and the amenity bodies. This is a signifiant concession, since formerly objections could only be lodged by parishioners finding a brave soul to front a battle could be problematical! We receive agendas of all the DACs, so we know what is coming up. Do local authorities hear about the deliberations of their DACs? They should.
The system remains largely in place, then, although ‘public access’ is significantly improved. It remains the case that the procedures of a Consistory Court (the ecdesiastical court in which objections to faculty applications are heard) are highly legalistic and offer less of an opportunity for public airings of opinion than public inquiries.


Would it require planning permission? All the archeological
evidence for the development of the body of the church could
have been removed byJCB and the secular planning system
would have no control and no sanctions


In practice, how does it work? A recent case in Yorkshire demonstrates the fact that any system is only as good as the personnel who operate it. British Coal activities in the South Yorkshire coalfield involve an operation to undermine a church so severely that new foundations are required for the body of the building and the tower must be taken down completely and rebuilt. Since total demolition is not involved, there is no need for listed building consent and the whole operation (excavation of the nave and aisles and demolition of the tower) can take place under a faculty the local authority gets a handle on the process only right at the end when the rebuilding of the tower will require planning permission. The DAC, which has an obligation “to review and assess the degree of risk to materials, or loss to archaeological or historical remains or records arising from any proposals relating to the conservation, repair or alterations of places of worship”, noted an archaeological dimension. English Heritage sent an engineer to look at the tower, and agreed that it would have to come down. No steps were taken to record the archaeology, nor would have been, but for the appearance of our redoubtable Research Officer, invited to advise at a site meeting on an occasion when English Heritage was unable to attend. The result of that was that we produced, at very high speed, an archaeological assessment, on the basis of which British Coal has agreed to
fund a major programme of excavations, to be carried Out over the winter under the auspices of the University of York.
The problems have been in the timing
the job will inevitably be rushed and in turn have been the result of a failure on the part of the DAC to insist upon action as well as fine words, but that is not a problem confined to the ecclesiastical system. On the plus side, the archaeological dimension has been picked up and the developers have honoured the ‘polluter pays’ principle and coughed up. Would the outcome have been the same in the secular system? For the tower, which would require listed building consent to demolish as well as rebuild, the controls would be tighter, but I suspect that it would be left to the CBA in its role as listed buildings consultee to point out the ar€haeological implications. For the nave and aisles, however, no listed building consent would be required to excavate and strengthen the foundations. Would it require planning permission? I think not, but would be interested to hear opinions. All the archaeological evidence for the development of the body of the church could have been removed by JCB and the secular planning system would have no control and no sanctions.
The CBA has argued in the past that archaeology stands a better chance under the ecclesiastical system than within the planning system (though we’re working on it see the draft PPG Archaeology and Planning). My case study demonstrates that fact in theory, though serendipity had as much to do with it in this instance but at least the machinery was there to be operated.

Jane Grenville is historic buildings officer with the council for British Archaeology, Kings Manor, York.
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