A PARISH in Shropshire has reversed its decision to register
Chancel Repair Liability (CRL) notices against 25 homes after a
publicity campaign by affected homeowners.
The PCC of St Mary's, Stottesdon, near Bridgnorth, took the
decision after a Facebook page set up to oppose the plans received
widespread media coverage in the area. Local residents said they
were "stunned" when the Land Registry told them that it was
proposed to register the liability.
The Facebook page has attracted more than 680 "likes", and has
attracted a large number of negative comments. One user, Roger
Hughes, said: "Having to pay a relatively rich institution for the
upkeep of a building where an imaginary sky wizard is worshipped?
You couldn't make it up. Well, they did in the 1500s (or whenever
it was the law was created) but I think we've moved on a bit since
then - or I hope we have."
Another, Chris Valder, said: "I still hold the Church of England
100 per cent responsible for this mess. They claim they are also
against CRL (pause for laughter) but had the opportunity to issue
clear instructions to their PCCs not to register any claims against
families and individuals. Instead, they left it to a bunch of
volunteer, sometimes vindictive, amateurs to impose their own
Speaking to the BBC, the Priest-in-Charge of Stottesdon,
the Revd Colin Resch, said: "The Christian faith has much to say
about healing and reconciliation, and this decision will help us to
live out the message that we preach."
The Facebook-page owners described the decision as "the morally
right one, and very good news to the community", but they warned
that the notices could be re-registered at any time. "Those
property owners affected would like a deed of relinquishment from
the PCC, stating that they will never pursue us for chancel repair
liability, and hopefully this will restore the value to our
properties," they said. "Maybe then we can all put this behind us,
and unite once more as a community."
The passing of a legal deadline on 13 October last year means
that Chancel Repair Liability lapses on any properties sold since
that date unless the liability has been regis-tered; but the
liability can still be registered, where it exists, on property
that has not been sold since that deadline (News, 11 October
After a campaign by the MP for Mid-Worcestershire, Peter Luff,
the Charity Commission issued revised guidance last year giving
PCCs the authority to decide against regis-tering the liability if
doing so would damage the mission and ministry of the Church.
Before that, the C of E's guidance warned that PCC members could be
personally liable if they failed to protect the church's