Findon church extension can go ahead, despite concerns

AN ancient Findon church has been given the go-ahead to build an extension, despite some concerns that it would include a lavatory opening directly into a kitchenette area.

Mark Hill QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester and a judge of the Church’s consistory court, has granted permission for the controversial extension to be built on the south side of Grade-l listed St John the Baptist Church, pictured, right.

Planning permission was granted by Arun District Council as long ago as May, 2008, and renewed in April last year, but final approval had to be sought from the consistory court.

However, whilst conservation body English Heritage had no problem with the plans, the Church Buildings Council thought the extension would be an “unattractive lean-to” that will form an “unsightly addition” to the church.

It added that the lavatory opening directly into the kitchenette would be “undesirable” for hygiene reasons, whilst the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings indicated that it preferred such facilities being made within a church rather than through an extension.

Granting permission, though, the judge said: “The proximity of the lavatory to the kitchenette is not ideal, but getting the best use out of listed buildings is the art of the possible. I note that planning permission has been granted for this extension and I will make it a condition that building regulation approval is also obtained before works commence.

“If the local planning authority has not raised objection, then it would be inappropriate for the consistory court to do so.”

Finding that the plans had the backing of parishioners, he added: “In the absence of meaningful arguments to the contrary, this court ought to give due deference to the considered views of the worshipping community as to the way in which their premises are used, both liturgically and for ancillary purposes such as refreshment and comfort.”

He ordered that the works must be completed within 12 months, once building regulation approval is obtained from the council.