Listed churches: beautiful architecture, steeped in history...but not the easiest to adapt when it comes to your congregation's changing needs. That's not to say renovation is impossible...
When it comes to listed buildings, renovations can get complicated. Any seasoned Grand Designs viewer will have groaned as a hapless couple introduce their dream build as a ‘modernisation of a lovely Grade II tudor farmhouse’. Good luck getting that planning permission.
Yet despite some limitations, it is possible to renovate listed buildings successfully, and it doesn’t always need to turn your church into a money pit. With the right planning, you can help your listed church meet the needs and wants of your congregation without spoiling the features that make it special.
Here's where listed churches differ from domestic properties. Legislation recognises that churches (and other places of worship) should be "living buildings" - a building that serves the church community. As such, many faith buildings are exempt from listed building and planning permission for conservation areas, but they remain governed by general planning permission rules. You can find some useful information on exemptions at the English Heritage website.
As you may have guessed, the exemption doesn’t mean you can start knocking down walls when you feel like it: there are still lots of things to consider. Your first step is to inform your Diocesan Advisory Committee of your intent to renovate. They can outline any concerns ahead of the planning process, and will be a useful contact throughout the process.
Regardless of the rules and regulations, if you have a listed church, you’re likely to want to keep its unique character and respect the history of the building. We suggest working with an architect who specialises in places of worship or listed buildings, who can help you to maximise the impact of the renovations without disrupting the character of your church.
A kitchen - with all the plumbing, wiring and construction involved - may seem like an impossible dream inside a listed church. Many do opt for an external construction - an extension with a glass walkway to the church is a popular trend at the moment - but it's not the only option. "Pod" kitchens are gaining popularity for protected churches that don't have the space (or funding) for an extension. Take a look at this month's case study, Holy Trinity Church Bradford on Avon, to see a great example of a "pod" kitchen.
The inherent strength of metal and a combination of the benefits listed on this page mean that a steel Kitchen will far exceed the life expectancy of a standard wooden carcass kitchens in semi-commercial environments.
The polyester powder coated steel is impervious to water. No more swollen chipboard or rotting MDF.
The metal is fire resistant and the powder coat finish formulated so that no toxic fumes are emitted in the case of fire.
Unlike wooden/chipboard cabinets the Steelplan Kitchen carcass does not contain any material that may sustain, harbour or encourage insects or bacteria.
The powder coated finish means that the units can be kept to an extremely high level of cleanliness and hygiene at all times. Essential when used in health locations.
It looks great! The hidden steel backbone is dressed up with a choice of doors to produce whatever look and feel you want.