Chancel Repair Liability

Andrew Pearson made this Freedom of Information request to Land Registry

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Land Registry,

Please tell me how many properties the Anglican Church has registered as liable to pay for the upkeep of pre-reformation churches.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Pearson

Sondh, Gurmale, Land Registry

Dear Mr. Pearson,

Thank you for your email of 9 September 2011 where you requested
information about how many properties the Anglican Church has registered
as liability to pay for the upkeep of pre-reformation churches.

In order to carry out your request, we would need to have the correct
name(s) of the registered proprietor, i.e. is "The Anglican Church" the
name of the registered proprietor or is/are there any variation(s) of that
name which need to be taken into account?

We would not be able to identify properties as pre-reformation churches,
all we would be capable of producing is the number of titles currently
registered to "the Anglican Church, or any other proprietor's name(s)
specified by you.

Once you have confirmed the above, I will be able to begin to process your
request. If I do not receive confirmation within three months your
request will be considered to have lapsed.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please contact me.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Legal Services
DD : 0300 006 7053

Dear Land Registry,

Please tell me how many properties the Anglican Church has

registered as liable to pay for the upkeep of pre-reformation

churches.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Pearson

show quoted sections

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Thankyou for your prompt reply.

I'd like to make sure you understand exactly what I want before you waste your time on searches, so here's a potted history.

In the middle ages, some churches were run by 'vicars', who received a 'stipend' (wage) to pay for the upkeep of their church building; some were run by 'rectors', who were allotted a bit of land, and used the income from it to pay for the upkeep of the church.

During the reformation, Henry VIII took the land away from these 'rectors' and sold it to ordinary people. The ordinary people became responsible for the upkeep of the church building (they were known as 'lay rectors'). The responsibility was attached to the land, and passed to anybody who bought the plot, whether they know or not.

Fast forward to 2003. A case ('Wallbank') comes to court where a church tries to force one of these 'lay rectors' to pay for the upkeep of the church building. The church wins. Because this seems a bit unfair in this day and age, the government steps in and says that from now on, people will have to be warned if they are a lay rector. The church has to 'register its interest' in individual plots before 2013 if it wants to be able to extract money after that.

(for more information see here http://www.chancel.org.uk/chancel-repair...)

What I want to know is how many such churches have registered such an interest by issuing a 'caution against first registration' (which is what they have to do when the land is unregistered) or a notice (in the case of registered land).

Since you're the people with whom this registration has to be made, I assume that you have the information. I'd be extremely appreciative if you'd work with me to decide the best way to 'mine' it.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Pearson

Sondh, Gurmale, Land Registry

Dear Mr. Pearson,

Thank you for your email dated 12 September 2011 clarifying your request
in detail.

You requested the following information :-

"What I want to know is how many such churches have registered such an
interest by issuing a 'caution against first registration (which is what
they have to do when the land is unregistered) or notice (in the case of
registered land)."

Your request was referred to our Information Systems (IS) team to locate
the requested information.

I am informed by our IS team that as at 12 September 2011 there are 407
registered properties that have an entry on the register in respect of a
liability to repair the chancel. I trust the information supplied will be
useful.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.

If you are dissatisfied with this response to your request, you may seek
an internal review within two months of the date of our reply. Internal
reviews will be dealt within 20 working days. If at the end of this time
we are unable to respond, we will write to you explaining the reasons and
giving you a new date. If you seek an internal review please write to:

Mike Westcott Rudd

Head of Corporate Legal Services

Land Registry Head office

Trafalgar House

1 Bedford Park

Croydon

CR0 2AQ

Email: [1][email address]

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) within
two months of the reply for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a
decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by
Land Registry. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Legal Services
DD : 0300 006 7053

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Dear Mr Westcott Rudd,

That is an eminently satisfactory answer, and I thank you for your time and help.

All the best,

Andrew Pearson

Lou Henderson left an annotation ()

The 'Anglican Church' is not a legal entity. It is individual Parochial Church Councils (of the Church of England) which will be registering the liability of lay rectors for chancel repairs.

John Cross left an annotation ()

I changed the status from 'long overdue' to successful.

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