Historic Reigate church gives up ancient right to make local homeowners pay for its repairs (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
Got a story? Call 01273 544544 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Historic Reigate church gives up ancient right to make local homeowners pay for its repairs
9:00am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A Reigate church's council has decided not to enforce an ancient law making local homeowners liable for repairs to the building.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Mary’s Church, Reigate - Reigate Parish Church - recently decided it would not enforce Chancel Repair Liability (CRL).
CRL is an ancient law dating from the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. Under it, homes subject to CRL within the parish may be financially liable for church repairs. There have been cases elsewhere in the country where homeowners have had to pay thousands - sometimes tens of thousands - of pounds towards repair costs.
But the vicar of St Mary's, one of the largest parish churches in Surrey and probably dating from the 12th century, has called CRL “an unfair law on homeowners.”
The Reverend Phil Andrew said “As a church we have never enforced CRL, and we have felt for some time that this is an unfair law on homeowners.”
He said: “We applied to the Charity Commission earlier this year, and they confirmed that we would be within our rights not to enforce CRL.”
Rev Andrew pointed to the problems with CRL faced by thousands of homeowners across the country, stating property buyers are often advised to take out legal indemnity insurance to cover a CRL claim, although, he said, in practice few claims are made.
“Historically, the only winners seem to have been the legal insurers,” Rev Andrew said. “The threat of CRL is hardly conducive to good community relations! “Giving up our historic right to enforce it is one additional way in which we can demonstrate our commitment to reaching out to all within the local community.”
He added: “Our stated purpose is ‘Building a Community to Reach a Community with the Love of God.’ “We are constantly looking for ways to put this into practice - most recently by raising funds to build a new £2 million church centre in Chart Lane, now under construction, which will be a wonderful base for us to serve the community of Reigate.”
St Mary's, which includes the town centre within its parish, was extensively restored in the 19th century, however, inside, the central columns of the aisle are part of the original church.
The family memorials inside include one to the family of Lord Howard, who led the navy with Sir Francis Drake against the Spanish Armada in 1588.