Church launches on-line planning & heritage tool

Further simplification of  the faculty system, and assistance to researchers

The Church of England launched an on-line planning and heritage tool at Lambeth Palace on 10 May; the new service will simplify the planning process for church alterations under the faculty jurisdiction and offers heritage information to researchers and heritage professionals. To date more than half of the Church of England’s 42 dioceses have signed up to the Church Heritage Record which contains over 16,000 entries on church buildings in England and Wales, covering a wide variety of topics from architectural history and archaeology, to the surrounding natural environment. The information has been developed and added to through desk-based research and fieldwork reports, as well as through local initiatives and thematic projects.

Following a consultation with parishes and dioceses, the system for obtaining permission to undertake works from minor alterations, routine maintenance to major improvements was simplified to make for a speedier and less burdensome process. Rupert Allan, Diocesan Advisory Secretary for the Diocese of Leicester said “Parishes are able to make applications for minor works authorization online with the ability to track their progress. They can create and maintain an electronic log book of all repairs and works carried out – whether they need permission or not – this allows parishes and diocesan staff to work better together by improving communication and access to information”, see link below.

The Church Heritage Record also provides the basis for the new church visiting website,, and the Church is encouraging dioceses and other local groups to populate it with as much useful information about each church as possible. From a church’s geographical location and approximate dates of construction of church buildings and a search facility, the record provides a powerful tool for researchers. Once further developed, it is anticipated that it will become a vital tool for the examination of trends in social, art historical and liturgical history, in addition to research on the history and heritage of a village or town.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Church launches on-line planning & heritage tool" in Law & Religion UK, 12 May 2016,


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