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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 Mon-
uments Society was vehemently opposed to
the continuation of the exemption.
The whole thing came round again in
1984, with a DoE consultation on the ex-
emption. By this time the Faculty Jurisdic-
tion Commission had come up with a sig-
nificant concession: that planning depart-
ments 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 main-
tenance 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 lis-
ted building consent but the Church ofEng-
land 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 represen-
ted 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 mat-
ters 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 pro-
cedures of a Consistory Court (the ecdes-
iastical 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 per-
mission? 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 opera-
tion 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 engin-
eer 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 lis-
ted buildings consultee to point out the
ar€haeological implications. For the nave
and aisles, however, no listed building con-
sent would be required to ex-
cavate 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.
CONTEXT 28
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