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WELSH CHURCH ACT ESTATE COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 14th December, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor F.T. Johnson (Chairman); Councillor G.A. Cox, C.P. Franks, K.P. Mahoney and R.P. Thomas.

 

 

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, due to the absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, Councillor K.P. Mahoney was appointed Chairman for the duration of the meeting.

 

 

670     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –  

 

These were received from Councillor H.C. Hamilton (Vice-Chairman).

 

 

671     MINUTES –  

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 14th September, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

672     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –  

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

673     WELSH CHURCH ACT 1914 SCHEME (HLS) –

 

The Committee received a report to advise it in connection with the scope of the Welsh Church Act Scheme made pursuant to Section 19 Welsh Church Act 1914 on 9th February, 1976.

 

The Welsh Church Act Estate Committee had delegated authority to manage in accordance with the scheme the Welsh Church Act Estate which was currently vested in the Council, and the current scheme applicable was that made on 9th February, 1976. The full scheme was attached at Appendix A to the report. 

 

At a previous meeting of the Committee, an application for assistance for building works at Llandow Village Hall in the sum of £5,487 had been considered, but was deferred. Following consideration of the scheme in relation to this application, the Committee decided to defer further consideration to await further legal advice in relation to the scope of the scheme.

 

The Scheme provided for 13 objects for charitable purposes to which the fund may be applied, which were set out in the first schedule of the Scheme.

 

Paragraph 18 of the Scheme required that after defraying expenses and costs, the Council “shall apply the fund to such charitable purposes of the nature described in the First Schedule hereto as the Council may from time to time think fit".  The Committee was advised that this gave fairly wide discretion to the Committee to apply the fund to one or more of those objects.  The Committee had apparently historically applied the Fund in relation to the maintenance / restoration of places of worship and burial grounds (Object 11).  Object 5 of the Scheme covered "providing or assisting in the provision of facilities for recreation or other leisure time occupation being facilities which are available to the members of the public at large and which are provided in the interests of social welfare with a view to improving the conditions of life for the persons intended and in particular in furtherance of those purposes without prejudice to the generality thereof providing, or assisting in the provision of, playing fields, parks, open spaces and centres or halls for meetings, lectures or classes". 

 

The Committee was advised that Object 5 would appear to cover applications such as that by the Llandow Village Hall.  However, the wording actually was "provision of" which was distinct from the wording in Object 11 which referred to contributing towards the "restoration and maintenance “.  The Committee was further advised that it could be argued that provision from the outset, i.e. the construction of a hall rather than ongoing maintenance of a hall of this nature already erected was what was envisaged by Object 5, however it may be it may be that there was no real distinction, but the wording was different in each Object and it could conceivably be argued that the lack of the words "restoration and maintenance" might preclude a grant in relation to refurbishment of an existing village hall.

 

Section 19 of the Welsh Church Act 1914 provided that if some funds can be traced to one particular Parish and that Parish requested funds, then due regard must be given to their wants and circumstances and it would appear that in that case it would be strongly persuasive that the Committee should determine to support the application.  However, Committee was advised that this was not binding and the Council could nevertheless decide not to provide funds to that Parish.

 

The Committee was advised that due to the way in which the Scheme was worded, it was considered to permit the selection of a number of categories or only one category.  Therefore, it was advised that the Committee potentially had discretion to consider a grant to the village hall subject to the caveat in relation to the wording of Object 5, and moreover that it had no duty imposed on it not to discriminate or to favour one or more Objects over others.

 

It was confirmed at the meeting that all the Objects contained within the Scheme bore equal weight and that the Trustees could choose any one or more of the Objects for grant funding.

 

Discussion took place in relation to Section 19 of the Welsh Church Act 1914 Scheme which provided that if some funds could be traced back to one particular Parish and that Parish was requesting funds, due regard must be given to their wants and circumstances, however it may not always be possible to trace funds back to a particular Parish and furthermore there was no absolute obligation on the Committee to grant funding to the Parish if the funds could be traced back. A Committee Member expressed the view that it was particularly difficult to trace the origins of funds as Parish boundaries had been reorganised throughout the years. 

 

The Committee was advised that the previous grant funding application received in relation to Llandow Village Hall was approximately £5,000, however, there had been further dialogue with the applicant and they had subsequently received cash grants therefore the application for financial assistance had been amended to £500. 

 

Following consideration of advice within the report, it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the content of the report and the advice therein be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To take account of the advice within the report and to further the proper administration of the Scheme.

 

 

Having entered the room, the Chairman took over the Chair for the rest of the meeting.

 

 

674     APPLICATIONS FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE 2015/16 (MD) –

 

Consideration was given to the applications for grant assistance received, as set out at Appendix A to the report. Appendices to the report detailed charitable purposes for which the fund might be applied and also the fund’s revenue estimates for the current financial year. £35,000 had been provided for grants in the Trust’s revenue estimates 2015/16.

 

Concern was expressed that there was only £1,100 left in the grant fund reserves as there could be more requests for financial assistance and further repairs and maintenance required within the current financial year.

 

It was confirmed that funding had already been provided to St. Paul’s Church Hall, Barry to the total of £3,800 in 2014/15 and therefore no grant was recommended. It was also reiterated that the funding request from Llandow Village Hall had been amended from approximately £5,000 to £500. 

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the applications for financial assistance as detailed below be approved:

 

 

 

 

GRANT APPROVED

Name of Organisation

Specific Purpose for Which Grant Requested

£

South Wales Area Quaker   Meeting House

Cardiff Council   Recommends

1,500.00

Church of St. Mary the   Virgin, Butetown

Cardiff Council   Recommends

2,000.00

Merthyr Dyfan Church,   Merthyr Dyfan

Replace Keyboard   Instrument

400.00

St. Cannas Church,   Llangan

Restore Manders Organ

1,000.00

St. Josephs RC Church,   Penarth

Lime Render Interior   Walls and Lime casting Exterior Walls

1,500.00

St. Marys RC Church,   Dinas Powys

Redecoration

1,500.00

St. Cattwgs Church,   Llantwit Major

Roof Repair Work

1,500.00

Llandow Village Hall

Previously received   application now confirmed amount required approx £500

500.00

St. Peters Church,   Peterston-Super-Ely

Heating Project –   replacement boiler, radiator and piping

1,500.00

St. Catwg Church   Community Facility, Pentrych

Reconfiguring and   modernising internal layout of church

2,500.00

St. Marys Church Parish   of Cadoxton juxta Barry

Roof and Boundary Wall   Project

5,000.00

 

Total Recommended

18,900.00

 

(2)       T H A T the sum for the cost of sales be transferred into the reserves of the Welsh Church Act fund.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1&2)  In furtherance of the objectives of the Trust.