I would like to bring to your readers’ attention the contents of a letter from the Diocesan Registrar, Mr Huskinson, in which he states he is perfectly satisfied that the sale of the Black Paddock was entirely lawful. He goes on to say:
a) The Black Paddock was not the subject of any bequest. It was purchased from Dr Vollam by the Parochial Church Council.
b) In 1960 the Charity Commission made a scheme by which the Black Paddock would be for burial purposes or a churchyard extension.
c) Alvechurch churchyard is the biggest in the Diocese and the PCC’s view is that there is more than sufficient land available for burial for the foreseeable future.
d) Accordingly in 2002 the PCC decided to sell the Black Paddock which would release enough funds from the sale to acquire replacement land if ever it is requires.
e) In these circumstances the Charity Commissioners ruled that the PCC were free to sell the land subject to compliance with the requirements of the Charities Act 1993.
f) The proposed land was advertised (as required by the Charities Act) in 2002, as a result several representations were made to, and considered by, the Charity Commissioners, after which they decided to confirm to Mr Huskinson (Diocesan Registrar) that it was in order for the sale to be carried out.
All requirements of the Charities Act 1993 with regard to marketing were fully complied with.
g) The Charity Commission by order authorised the PCC to borrow sufficient funds from the proceeds of the sale, to fund the new church hall facility on the basis that it would be repaid over a period of years. Accordingly the funds representing the net proceeds of sale of land have not been permanently depleted.
Mr Huskinson finished his letter by saying that he trusts he has made the position clear. I have a copy of this letter if anyone wishes to see it. I would finally like to say that the hall is desperately needed by the churchgoing community and we look forward to the completion.
Margaret Gardner, Alvechurch