Faith communities may carry out internal alterations to their buildings in response to changing needs and opportunities. Major internal alterations are often referred to as ‘reordering’. The denominations have different systems for approving alterations and can be viewed here by clicking on the name: Church of England, Methodist Church, Catholic Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union.
Applying for Permission
- The relevant approval body should be consulted as soon as you have draft proposals. In the Anglican and Methodist Churches this applies whether or not the building is listed.
- The Carlisle Diocese website provides a preliminary consultation form.
- English Heritage's document New Work in Historic Places of Worship sets out the principes that they apply when considering changes to listed churches. They also have a Guide to Heritage Protection which explains listing and getting consent.
- You should involve an architect at an early stage, particularly if your building is listed or you are planning major work. An architect who carries out quinquennial inspections of your church will know the building well, but may not necessarily be the ideal choice as other architects may have more knowledge or experience of the type of work you are planning.
- Amenity bodies should also be consulted. See the presentation by Sara Crofts of SPAB on consulting amenity bodies:Faculties without the Fuss.
When applying for permission, you should submit a Statement of Significance and a Statement of Need. Click here for an overview and a list of useful research resources.
External alterations to listed buildings will also need Listed Building Consent from the District Council or National Park Authority.
Listing of buildings
You can ask English Heritage to review the listing of your building (click here). For churches in the Diocese of Carlisle your Buildings Audit will say if a review is recommended. Before asking for a review which could remove the listing you are advised to consider whether you might want to apply for repair grants which are only available to listed buildings.
- Church Care. is a Church of England website but much of the information provided is relevent to all denominations.
- Action with Communities in Cumbria can provide advice on developing a place of worship for extended use. The amount of free advice available depends upon the extent to which the building will be available to the wider community. Contact
), the Village Halls Adviser whose telephone day is Wednesday on 01768 840 827.
- You may be able to save VAT on some alterations; see HM Revenue and Customs for further details.