How do I make changes to a Listed Building?
Works of Repair
Some projects are not for alterations at all but are rather for “like for like” repair and maintenance works or are for such minor alterations that the scheme will not affect the architectural or historic importance of the building. These are approved without delay, provided that the specifications are satisfactory.
Be aware that some works of repair can constitute works of alteration, for instance re-painting in a different colour or repointing using incorrect materials. The Connexional Conservation Officer can provide advice on this and will highlight any issues following inspection of the specification of works.
Works of Alteration and Extension
You will need formal listed consent to demolish a listed building or for any alterations or extensions which would affect its character as a building of architectural or historic interest. Applying for listed building consent process is very similar to the normal planning process, but as a consequence of the Ecclesiastical Exemption is dealt with through our internal system of control.
Firstly, the church should contact the Connexional Conservation Officer to talk through the suitability of your project. This may involve an onsite meeting to give you the opportunity to articulate your vision and objectives, and for the Conservation Officer to view the church. Your mission statement and aspirations should be clearly set out as this is the main driver and justification for change to your building. Historic fabric is finite and once lost is lost forever. Thus, as there is a presumption in favour of conservation any changes will need to be demonstrable and will be carefully considered.
Resources are available on the Methodist Church website to help you develop your mission objectives.
Case Studies and other examples of interesting projects can be found here:
- The Wesley Church Centre, Chester - 'Regenerate!': Worship Area Reordering
- Pentre Llifior Methodist Chapel - New Porch, Refurb Stable/Coach House & Car Park
- The Wesley Centre, Malton - Creation of a Community Hub for Malton
- Victoria Methodist Church, Bristol - Faith in the Future
- The New Room, Bristol - Horsefair Project
- Four Oaks Methodist Church - New Rear Halls and Improved Access
There is also a very useful toolkit produced by the Diocese of Hereford that will guide you through the development stages of your project, Crossing the Threshold.
The Methodist Church has also been working with Historic England and Cornwall Council on producing guidance to help congregations make informed decisions about how to adapt and make changes to nonconformist chapels. This guidance can be found here, and is generic advice applicable to chapels nationwide - Methodist and Nonconformist Chapels in Cornwall
The church should then raise a project on the online consents system. This will generate an automated email which sets out the requirements and further information required to process your application. You will be encouraged to liaise with a conservation accredited professional in the development of your project, which could be an architect, surveyor or structural engineer. Someone with a working knowledge of altering listed buildings who understands the process of obtaining listed building approvals, but also understands the requirements of a worshiping community. A list of such professionals in your area can be found online.