Simple Statements of Significance and Need

Introduction

Where the proposed works are small, straightforward and uncontroversial in nature, the detailed guidance on Statements of Significance and Need produced by the Church Buildings Council will be impractical. In such cases, the following guidance should assist you in producing statements suitable to the minor nature of your application.

Statement of Significance

This is a short note, possibly of one to two pages, which describes the church, its contents and churchyard and their significance to the local community and wider world.  Once the document has been produced, it can then be used for further faculty applications, requests for grant funding, etc. The statement should cover the following:

  1. Setting of the church - an explanation in terms that will be understandable to someone unfamiliar with the church and area.
  2. Description - this can be based upon the church listing and guidebook. The objective is to convey the key features of the church - the dates of the building, main elements and plan, and general character of the church. Guides like the Pevsner Buildings of England series can also be helpful.
  3. Items of Special Significance - this is to identify the notable features of the church. It does not need to be exhaustive and could relate to archaeology, a chancel screen or monument or even an historical connection rather than a specific object or architectural feature.

Statement of Need

For any significant work (extension, re-ordering, large-scale pew removals - and most work to buildings listed Grade 1 or 2*) you would need to use the detailed template of this document produced by the Church Buildings Council.  However, for small-scale works to unlisted or Grade 2 buildings then following the simpler guidance below will normally be sufficient:

  1. Current and future needs of the congregation/parish - this is a description of the character of the parish, both in terms of the worshipping congregation and of the wider community, followed by an explanation of how the proposed works are desirable to meet their needs.  It is helpful for any evidence of needs to be as specific as possible, e.g. details of patterns of worship and liturgical practice and numbers attending services.
  2. Impact on the building - this is a clear explanation of the effects a proposal will have on the building.  It should set out what steps have been taken to minimise the impact, and should justify the proposal e.g. as possibly the least damaging way of achieving the benefits sought, or potentially an improvement to the appearance of the building.
  3. Evidence of support - this is to provide information on the support within the
    congregation for the scheme and from the local community and any relevant bodies consulted.  Any opposition to the scheme should be recognised and an explanation given as to what extent the proposals have been adapted to respond to the objections or, as appropriate, why the proposals could not be sensibly amended.