Most churches in England and Wales do not need to apply for listed building consent and changes are managed through a separate system. C20 Society has to be consulted on these too, and has a specialist caseworker who does this.
We encourage architects, developers and owners to consult with us before they put in planning applications, so that we can explain why we think a building is important and try to help them find solutions which meet their needs and preserve what’s special about it. Sometimes that’s not possible and we end up lobbying hard against the granting of permission. The caseworkers present cases at the monthly meeting of our expert Casework Committee, who guide them and can also advise on lobbying press, working with local groups and coming up with positive suggestions for alternative design approaches, or more radical lateral ideas.
In the last resort, if an application we’ve fought against gets permission, we can sometimes reverse the decision at a public inquiry or consistory court hearing, chaired by a planning inspector, or lawyer, who will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State. We have to think very carefully about whether to do this as it is very time consuming and can be expensive.