DC Casebook: Housing: New Build - Rectory location next to church agreed

A local authority's claim that a new rectory in the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) is unnecessary has been overruled by an inspector who agreed that an existing facility is too remote from the parish church.

The appellants proposed to demolish a hall close to the church and build a rectory for occupation by the parish priest. Canon law required the priest to occupy a property within the benefice and close to the church, they argued. The rectory had to be viewed as part and parcel of the place of worship and had to be flexible to suit successive occupants, they asserted. They claimed that a rectory some distance away was too small, had no car parking and would need significant alteration to provide family accommodation.

The inspector decided that the existing rectory was not so remote as to prevent it from fulfilling parish duties. However, she agreed that significant alterations and extensions would be necessary to provide incumbents with a satisfactory level of accommodation. The role of a rector is specialised and the appeal proposal had the advantage of providing accommodation to the necessary standard, she noted. This outweighed the impact on the character of the AONB, she held.

DCS Number 100-069-049

Inspector Kathleen Ellison; Written representations.

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