Many Church in Wales’ churches are Listed Buildings. The decision to list a building is taken through the Local Authority with the advice of Cadw (the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service). Works to Listed Buildings usually require Listed Building Consent from the Local Authority. However, the Government has accepted that the Church’s Faculty Procedure is sufficiently robust to allow the Church to be exempt from this consent (this concession is known as Ecclesiastical Exemption).
Similarly, works to buildings lying within a Conservation Area (though not necessarily listed) will require Conservation Area Consent from the Local Authority. This is to maintain the character of a Conservation Area. The Faculty procedure exempts churches from the need to seek this consent.
It should be remembered that the grant of a faculty does not exempt a church from planning permission if the proposed work affects its external character or involves a material change of use. In these cases, planning permission from the local authority will also usually be required. If in doubt about whether or not you need planning permission, speak to your professional adviser.
Some examples of work that would need planning permission (in addition to a faculty) are extensions to churches or creating a new internal space to accommodate a cafe. In addition, building works will often require Building Regulations approval to ensure proper standards of work. This is something your professional adviser would normally apply for on your behalf.
Further details of the Ecclesiastical Exemption and the Faculty Process can be found in the following guidance note: Faculty: Guidance Note
Further details about designations and permissions can be found below:
Planning Permission and Building Regulations
Some works to churches will require planning permission and building regulations approval, in addition to a faculty. These would normally be applied for by your professional adviser (eg. architect). If in doubt speak to your DAC Secretary. Information about planning permission & building regulations can be found on the Planning Portal and the Directgov website. You can also contact your Local Authority.
Go to the Planning Portal
Go to the Directgov website
Listed Buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments
Many Church in Wales’ churches are listed buildings (LBs) and will therefore require more sympathetic treatment than an unlisted church when considering any works to them. It is therefore advisable to check if your church is listed and view the list description before applying for a faculty. Occasionally, you may also find a scheduled ancient monument (SAM) within the churchyard, such as the remains of a medieval preaching cross. Any works to to a SAM will require scheduled monument consent directly from Cadw in addition to a faculty. You can search for information on LBs or SAMs on the Historic Wales Portal. Alternately, you can speak to your DAC Secretary or Local Authority for LB information, or Cadw for both LB & SAM information. See links below for Cadw and the Historic Wales Portal.
Go to the Historic Wales Portal
Go to the Cadw website for scheduling information