Statements of Significance and Need

The circumstances in which a Statement of Significance or a Statement of Needs will be required are now set out in section 4.3 of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 (“FJR 2015”). In essence, these Statements are required wherever proposed works will involve changes to a listed building.

The FJR 2015 repeat the emphasis on proper Statements of Significance and Needs found in the 2013 Rules, and where a faculty application for works to a listed church building is submitted without these Statements, it is likely to be rejected until the Statements can be provided.

In case of works proposed to listed churches, Statements of Significance and of Needs are likely to be required, and these should be submitted to the DAC with the initial application for the DAC’s advice. Guidance on these Statements is available at ChurchCare – Guidance on Statements of Significance and Need. If you need to prepare one or both of these statments, the ChurchCare guidance is very helpful, and is well worth reading before you start. Briefly, the required Statements are:

  • A Statement of Significance summarises (i) the significance of the church or other building in terms of its special architectural and historic interest (including any contribution made by its setting); and (ii) any significant features of artistic or archaeological interest that the church or other building has, so as to enable the potential impact of the proposals on its significance, and on any such features, to be understood
  • A Statement of Needs sets out the justification for the proposals.

If proposals are likely to result in harm to the significance of the church or other building as a building of special architectural or historic interest, the document setting out the justification for the proposals (“the Statement of Needs”) must set out the basis on which it is said that the proposals would result in public benefit that outweighs that harm. In other words, it must show that the proposals will do more good than harm.

The initial preparation of the Statement of Significance may involve quite a bit of work, but it only needs to be done once, and should then be available for use on any subsequent applications for faculties, with only minor updating required from time to time. Once it has been prepared, it will be helpful to keep an electronic copy of the Statement of Significance, so that it can be brought up to date easily without having to be retyped for future applications.

If major building works are proposed either internally or externally please consult the DAC Secretary when your ideas are in the formative stages by means of an informal enquiry. This is actively encouraged by the DAC. It can also be very helpful to discuss proposals with any relevant Amenity Societies, as their specialist knowledge can be very useful in developing proposals. Consultation at an early stage can help to avoid delays and objections to faculty proposals later on, if the views of interested Amenity Societies have been sought and  incorporated into the petition. FJR 2015 encourages early consultation with relevant Amenity Societies, the Church Buildings Council, and other statutory consultees.

In appropriate cases a meeting of the interested parties can often be arranged on site and views exchanged. It will be helpful in such cases if at least draft copies of the Statement of Needs and Statement of Significance can be prepared and circulated beforehand together with an indication of how the needs might be met, and how any harm to the building or its special features will be offset by the faculty proposals.