English Heritage is a statutory consultee under the Ecclesiastical Exemption Order, as part of the consent procedures operated by the five exempt denominations. The guidelines for consultation are the same for each denominational procedure, except that for Church of England Cathedrals.
In addition to its formal role in advising on applications, English Heritage welcomes the opportunity to be involved in pre-application discussion when relevant works are being contemplated.
Applications requiring consultation with English Heritage
English Heritage must be consulted on applications for consent for the following works:
- All proposals for internal and external works to a Grade I and Grade II* listed church, churchyard and/or churchyard structure, which would affect their character as a building of special historic, archaeological, architectural or artistic interest.
- Proposals to Grade II churches, only where they involve the demolition of all or a substantial part of the structure of the interior. This includes the removal of principal internal elements, such as staircases, galleries, load-bearing walls, floor structures, roof structures or of major internal fixtures such as all fixed pews, rood screens or organs. Extensions, additive alterations, works to windows, or the partial removal of fixed pews are
- Works likely to affect the archaeological importance of the church or archaeological remains within a listed church of any grade, or its curtilage (grounds).
When English Heritage does not need to be consulted
- Repair of fixtures, such as heating and electrical systems, organs, clocks and flagpoles, provided the fabric of the building is not affected.
- Introduction, replacement, removal or repair of moveable items, such as furniture, altar frontals and falls, hassocks, banners or service books.
- Minor works in churchyards, such as resurfacing of paths, provision or replacement of a noticeboard or repair in matching materials of unlisted monuments, walls or gates, provided the archaeological interest of the site is not affected.
- Demolition of an unlisted church in a conservation area.
If a church has received a grant from English Heritage or through the English Heritage/Heritage Lottery Fund Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme, the grant offer will have included a grant condition that English Heritage is notified of any application for consent for works to the church.
Since September 2003, English Heritage has not given separate approval under these conditions, but will make representations on any proposals through the normal process.
Church of England cathedrals
The primary role of English Heritage in respect of Church of England cathedrals is as a consultee in regard to certain applications for consent, as detailed below. In addition, cathedral Chapters are advised that it is good practice to ask for our informal comments or advice at a preliminary stage, before a formal application.
Applications to a Fabric Advisory Committee (FAC)
The Cathedral Administrator must send written notification to English Heritage of any application to the FAC that involves:
- works that would materially affect the architectural, archaeological, artistic or historic character of the cathedral (or any other building within the Precinct in use for ecclesiastical purposes)
- works that would materially affect the immediate setting of the cathedral
- works that would materially affect any archaeological remains within the Precinct
Applications to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission (CFCE)
The Cathedral Administrator must send written notification to English Heritage of any application to the CFCE that involves:
- permanent alteration of the fabric of the cathedral (or any other building within the Precinct in use for ecclesiastical purposes)
- demolition of any part of the cathedral or such other building disturbance of any archaeological remains within the Precinct
- sale, loan or disposal of an object, or work to it, that would materially affect its architectural, archaeological, artistic or historic character, where the object is designated as 'outstanding' in the cathedral inventory