Ecclesiastical exemption in the UK: a note

In May 2016 I posted a note on the current state of ecclesiastical exemption in the four jurisdictions. The situation has moved on and the earlier post has been taken down. What follows is an attempt to state the latest position as I understand it. I should like to thank Gethin Rhys, National Assembly Policy Officer of Cytûn, for updating the material on Wales.

England & Wales

In England & Wales, ecclesiastical exemption is rooted in ss.60(1) and (2) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, as amended, which provide that buildings that are for the time being used for ecclesiastical purposes are not subject to ss.3A, 4, 7 to 9, 47, 54 and 59 of that Act. The exemptions are from various elements of listed building control:

  • building preservation notices;
  • restrictions on works of demolition, alteration or extension;
  • compulsory acquisition of buildings in need of repair;
  • urgent preservation works by a local authority, the Secretary of State (in England) and Welsh ministers (in Wales); and
  • offences in relation to intentional damage.

S.75 of the 1990 Act provides that such ecclesiastical buildings in England are not subject to s.74 ((Control of demolition in conservation areas) of the 1990 Act: the conservation area consent ecclesiastical exemption.

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