“A pink heater is not just for Gaudete”
The petition for the recently circulated case Re All Saints Stanton  ECC SEI 2 included several items relating to its proposed reordering. However, it is the experience of the church and the exchanges related to replacement heating that many will find most instructive.
The petitioners were seeking to remedy the shortcomings of the church’s existing heating system through the introduction of wall-mounted electric heaters to the nave (in which the pews are to be replaced by chairs), and through under-pew heaters to the south aisle [1(e)]. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings gave a distinctly sniffy response to this aspect of the consultation stating:
“. …We were sorry to learn that the underfloor heating, presumably installed quite recently, is not performing as the parish would wish. This underlines the importance of seeking advice from a heating advisor and/or building services engineer with extensive experience of church buildings, rather than simply a contractor with a vested interest in selling a particular solution.
While quartz heaters may be acceptable in principle, there are heaters on the market that are less visually intrusive, both by virtue of their design and because they do not glow red. We would strongly advise the parish to seek independent advice in this respect and the DAC may be able to arrange a visit from their own heating advisor.”
The Rev Cathy Bladen, on behalf of the petitioners responded with a very full email:
“. The underfloor heating was installed in April 2010 under the guidance of our then inspecting surveyor. It had the support of the DAC’s heating adviser. It is an insulated electrical system below new floor tiles under the two main blocks of nave pews. [However,] it struggles to raise the temperature of the church. To be most effective it should be running constantly at a low setting. This is financially impossible for us and we are concerned about our carbon footprint that such usage would cause.
The specific quartz heaters we have chosen have the ‘Magic Lamp’ technology which results in a much reduced glare and a soft pink light rather than the more usual red. Their advantage over the underfloor system is immediate heat at an affordable cost. The DAC’s heating adviser has reviewed the proposals and is supportive”.
SPAB accepted much of the response but repeated its concerns about the heating, to which the petitioners replied:
“. …The specific quartz heaters we have chosen have the ‘Magic Lamp’ technology which results in a much reduced glare and a soft pink light rather than the more usual red. The heaters are of a similar nature to many seen in many of our historic churches. The DAC’s heating adviser did visit and has reviewed the proposals and is supportive.
When discussing heating on a DAC visit we were told that they would not be in favour of hanging heaters as this would visually impact the open feel of the church and the flow of one’s eyes to the beautiful Holman Hunt stained glass East Window”.
The Victorian Society was equally dismissive of the heaters, and said:
“. …we echo also the views of the SPAB in respect of the heating. It is of course a shame that the underfloor heating is not working as was envisaged; and clearly the interior does require adequate heating. However, the proposed quartz heaters proposed are amongst the least appropriate for a highly listed church interior, both on account of their design and the fact that they emit an unwelcome, intrusive red glare. There are plenty of non-glare alternatives that would satisfy the parish’s requirements, and we urge that they are explored.
…Finally, we echo also the views of the SPAB in respect of the heating. It is of course a shame that the underfloor heating is not working as was envisaged; and clearly the interior does require adequate heating. However, the proposed quartz heaters proposed are amongst the least appropriate for a highly listed church interior, both on account of their design and the fact that they emit an unwelcome, intrusive red glare. There are plenty of non-glare alternatives that would satisfy the parish’s requirements, and we urge that they are explored.
The Petitioners responded to the Victorian Society in substantially identical terms to their response to SPAB , on which Gau Ch. commented:
“I have to say I share the DAC’s intrigue that the Victorian Society should have chosen to respond to matters outwith their perceived expertise, but nevertheless I am grateful for their input.”
The amenity bodies declined the chance to become parties opponent; the local authority has granted planning permission and the DAC had recommended that the Chancellor should grant the petition with two conditions [11, 12], the test being set out in the ‘Duffield’ judgment .
Noting that the case, as a whole, was not straightforward , Gau Ch. considered its different elements: the extension, ; the heating, ; and the pews, . With regard to the heating, he agreed with the observations that the glare from such heaters is less than ideal, but stated:
“. …in all the circumstances, including importantly, the matters of the expense of running the underfloor heating that is currently installed, I approve the proposals. A church whose finances are being eaten up running 24-hour heating is not going to be in a position to carry out any missional work“.
The petition was granted subject to conditions requiring: a copy of the Written Scheme of Investigation for archaeological investigation of the groundworks to be supplied to the DAC Secretary for comment as soon as it becomes available; and a stone panel with carved detail currently to be incorporated in the lower table of the buttress to be incorporated within the proposed lean-to extension should be relocated, and the new location approved by the DAC .