MOVING the final drafting of the Draft Church of England
Ecclesiastical Property Measure, the
Archdeacon of Tonbridge, the Ven. Clive Mansell
(Rochester), who chairs the steering committee, ex- plained that
the title of the Measure had been changed to omit the words "Church
The final-drafting stage was accepted without debate. Moving
final approval, Archdeacon Mansell said that the draft Measure
"does not exactly reflect" the original private member's motion
that led to the Measure, because of "the Archbishops' Council view
of where the balance should be struck" be- tween "desirable
deregulation of PCCs' activities and ensuring that transactions are
carried out in accordance with the law".
The Measure amends the Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measure
1956 and the Incumbents and Churchwardens (Trusts) Measure 1964, to
reduce the involvement of the diocese in property transactions
carried out by PCCs and charitable trusts with incumbents and
churchwardens as trustees.
"The proposals contained in the Measure retain the requirement
for the title to the property to be vested in the diocesan
authority, but will remove the need for the authority's consent in
any case in which the consideration paid on the transaction falls
below a threshold specified in an Order made by the Archbishops'
Council," the Archdeacon said.
The Measure would "reduce the reams of paperwork" that parishes
had to deal with, Julie Dziegiel (Oxford) said;
but she warned that parishes would "still need legal advice by
practitioners experienced in property and ecclesiastical law". She
was concerned that some dioceses might cease to offer such legal
advice, and called on them to maintain a list of suitable
In answer to Adrian Greenwood (Southwark),
Archdeacon Mansell confirmed that beneficial ownership would remain
with the PCCs, and said that there was "some way to go yet" before
the Archbishops' Council discussed the rate. He suggested that
there might be different rates in different geographic areas.
The Measure was given final approval: Bishops: 20 in favour,
none against, no recorded abstentions; Clergy: 75 in favour, none
against, no recorded abstentions; Laity: 90 in favour, none
against, one recorded abstention.