You must, by law, undertake all appropriate consultations.
Consultation is a hugely important element of any significant scheme of works - all the more so in buildings listed Grade 1 or 2*. Part 4 of the Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2019 sets out who should be to consulted and in what circumstances. You may find that you need to consult more than one body - for example, if your church was built in the 17th or 18th centuries but significantly altered in the 19th century. Your architect or the DAC Office can advise you further on which amenity societies you may need to consult. With the exception of local planning authorities, the DAC Office will usually undertake the consultation, via the online faculty system, on your behalf provided that you give them all the necessary information.
For schemes involving a significant change to a church (or which affect the archaeological importance of the church or its curtilage/churchyard) the parish is required by law to obtain views of the relevant statutory consultees. You will need to provide:
- a Statement of Need
- a Statement of Significance
- Photographs (both close up and wider context shots)
- Works specification.
You need to provide all this information so that the consultees can properly understand what you're proposing to do, why you're proposing to do it, and what effect it would have on your listed church building. You will need to provide the same information to the DAC as part of your faculty application. The Online Faculty System, introduced on 1 January 2016, allows you to send the same documentation quickly and easily to the DAC, who can then send the same to all the relevant bodies.
In some cases the DAC will be required to consult the Church Buildings Council on the parish's behalf. For specialist conservation cases (e.g. historic carvings) the parish will need to provide a Conservation Report produced by the parish’s conservator – guidelines for such reports are available here.
For schemes involving a particularly significant change to a listed building, the Chancellor may direct that a notice should be published by the parish in a local newspaper and on the diocesan website, in addition to the physical display of notices at the church. This helps to raise the local profile of such cases so that all interests can be given due consideration.
The prinary consultees are as follows:
- Historic England (previously called English Heritage): Must be consulted on all significant works to listed churches, irrespective of the age of the fabric or furnishings affected by the proposals.
- National Amenity Societies: The age of the church and the nature/effect of the proposed works will determine which of the societies should be consulted. As a guide, the following are the interests of the Amenity Societies:
- The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings: Buildings before 1715
- The Georgian Group: 1700-1840
- The Victorian Society: 1837-1914
- The Twentieth Century Society: 1914 onwards
- The Ancient Monuments Society: Cases involving substantial or total demolition of listed churches, sizeable extensions or where notable features (regardless of their date) face alteration or removal.
- The Council for British Archaeology: Cases affecting the archaeology of the fabric of the church (or below the ground of the church) or in the churchyard.
- The Church Buildings Council: Cases involving the demolition, alteration or extension of a grade I or II* listed building, or likely to affect the archaeological importance of a building or of remains within the building or its curtilage. Cases involving the conservation, alteration or disposal of an article of special historic, architectural, archaeological or artistic interest; the introduction of an article of special historic, architectural, archaeological or artistic interest (including new work) in a grade I or II* listed building; the alteration, extension or re-ordering of a church in a way that is likely significantly to affect the setting of an article of special historic, architectural, archaeological or artistic interest; or the movement or removal of an article of special historic, architectural, archaeological or artistic interest such that the article might be adversely affected unless special precautions are taken.
- The local planning authority: Church buildings are exempt from Listed Building Consent but any external changes are still subject to local planning consent. The local authority should also be consulted about internal changes to any grade-listed church affecting historic fabric, as their comments have to be taken into account as part of the faculty process.
Additional consulation may also be required in certain, specialist cases