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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Welsh Church Act Estate Committee: 15th July 2013

 

Report of the Director of Resources

 

Grazing Land opposite St Peter's Church, Old Cogan Hall, Penarth

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise Committee of a request from a local Farmer to be granted a long lease of the land opposite St Peter's Church, Old Cogan Hall for grazing purposes and to seek the view of Committee in respect of the same.

Recommendations

1.             That Committee considers the request of the Local Farmer and determine whether to grant a long lease of the land to them, advertise a longer lease to the general public or to continue with annual grazing licences.

2.             That Committee considers the request from the same farmer to be allowed to take a hay crop from the field.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1&2. To establish Committees view on granting a long lease/grazing licence/mowing licence of the land and to seek their instructions in respect of the same.

 

Background

2.             Officers were recently made aware of an approach by a local Farmer in respect of a request to be granted a lease of the land owned by The Welsh Church Act Estate at Cogan Hall, Penarth.  The farmer has also requested consent to take a hay/grass crop from the field.

3.             Committee will recall that they recently resolved to grant consent to lease a portion of land to St Peter's Church to enable them to use that land as a car park to serve the Church patrons.  Committee were advised that visitors to the Church were having difficulty with parking especially during busy services such as Weddings, Funerals and well attended general Services.  The lane that vehicles have to use in order to reach the Church is narrow and only allows for a small number of vehicles to park safely.  Vehicles equally have to use the same narrow lane for turning their vehicles around to drive away from the Church. 

4.             Committee attended site and are familiar with the site in question.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             The land owned by this Committee had traditionally been let for grazing/cutting on an annual basis with the land being tendered every year for a 10 month period (allowing a period of time for the land to recover from grazing annually).  An indication of the rental that this land attracted last time it was let will be provided at Committee.

6.             It has recently been requested by the local Farmer (who has in the past occupied the land annually under licence), that Committee consider offering them the land on a long lease instead of offering the land annually. 

7.             As stated above, committee have already granted authority for a lease of a small section of this field to be leased to St Pauls Church for car parking purposes. This will leave the remainder of the field which could be suitable for grazing (shown as an approximate location on the plan attached).

8.             As Committee have a duty to manage lands held by them in accordance with the Scheme of the Trust and with Charity Law, there is a requirement on Committee to ensure that they obtain best consideration for any land that they offer for sale or lease.  It is usual practice where there may be more than one interested party, that any land that is available, be advertised openly to the general public and thus ensuring that best consideration is achieved. In the case of St Peters Church (where there was a specific reason for the request to lease the land and only one possible interested party for that specific use) an external valuation report will be sought at the appropriate time to ensure that the rental received for the land is best consideration.

9.             In addition, the estates section have been approached by at least one other party recently who has expressed an interest in leasing/licencing this land for grazing purposes.

10.        Committee are also advised that the Farmer has requested consent from the Trust to take a grass/hay cut from the field.  If Committee are minded to allow this, a suitable licence will be required to be granted to allow the applicants access onto the land for this purpose. 

11.        Should committee be minded to offer a longer lease of this land for grazing it is recommended that they consider advertising the availability of the land as a result.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.        Should Committee be minded to grant a longer lease of part of the land for grazing purposes, an annual rental income would be negotiated to reflect the lands useage.

13.        Should Committee be minded to grant a licence for taking the grass/hay crop then committee should consider the need to seek a licence fee for the same.  Officer time will be incurred in drafting both a long lease and the licence if granted.

14.        An inspection of the land has taken place and in order to make the field stock proof, the field will require fencing at an estimated cost of £770.  Should Committee be minded to offer either a longer lease or licence of this land, Committee could either do this fencing work themselves and expect a full rental from the lease/licence or seek that the leaseholder undertake these works at their expense (in which case the level of rental offered would be likely to reduce to reflect this revenue cost to the ingoing Tenant).

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.        There are no sustainability and climate change implications as a result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        The Committee have a duty to manage lands held by them in accordance with the Scheme of the Trust and with Charity Law.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.        Whilst land is occupied, it will attract less crime and disorder issues such as unlawful occupation and fly tipping.  It has been noted during site visits that the land may have been used for horse related use recently (evidence of small home made horse jumps on site etc).

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.        None.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        The sole concern of the Committee is to act in the best interests of the Trust.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.        Not applicable.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.        Since the members of this Committee are acting as Committee Members, independent of the other Council resolutions, no further consultation has taken place.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.        None

Background Papers

16. None

 

Contact Officer

Lorna Cross

 

Officers Consulted

Mike Walsh, Property & Contract Team Leader, Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Director of Resources