BATTLE AGAINST CHANCEL REPAIR LIABILITY NEARLY WON
News Story

Broadway Residents can breathe a sigh of relief after the Heritage Lottery Fund revealed that funding will be made available for churches where it is judged unreasonable for a Parochial Church Council (PCC) to pursue Chancel Repair Liability against individual households.


The combination of English Heritage’s funding rules and the archaic law that imposed repair responsibility for large parts of ancient churches (known as the chancel) on local populations (“lay rectors”) threatened to make it impossible for PCCs to win funding for listed church repairs. In Broadway the Charity Commission has already ruled that it is reasonable for the PCC not to purse the liability against local residents.

The Heritage Lottery Fund will be taking over full responsibility for funding repairs to listed places of worship from English Heritage on 1st April 2013. The full details of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s new grants programme for places of worship will be released later this year.

MP for Mid Worcestershire, Peter Luff, wrote to the Heritage Lottery Fund to seek assurances that their new criteria to decide how to award grants would take sympathetic account of the Chancel Repair Liability issue.

In their response to Peter, the Heritage Lottery Fund said,

“We will no longer follow the highly detailed financial needs assessment model used by English Heritage whereby all available resources are allocated towards the immediate repair project. Neither will we continue with the policy that considers chancel repairs where there is a lay rector to be outside the scope of grant aid.

“We will take account of the financial needs of the applicant ... (and) be realistic about their ability to fundraise, and this will ensure we do not encourage the PCC to pursue Chancel Repair Liability where it is evidently unreasonable for them to do so.”

Commenting Peter said,

“There may still be changes that need to be made to underlying legislation to ensure that communities do not ever face this threat again, and I stand ready to do what I can to help ensure this legislative security.

“In the meantime, the pressure for PCCs to register for Chancel Repair Liability has disappeared locally and nationally and I know this will be very welcome news, especially in Broadway.”

ENDS


Back to News