Viney Bequest

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St Peter's Church Arlesey, Parochial Church Council
 
 
No 202 High Street, Arlesey
 
Recently the PCC benefitted from the very generous bequest of Beth and Marian Viney. We were left the house at 202 High Street, and a sum of money.
 
 
The terms of the will state that the income from the bequest (but not the capital) is to be spent on the maintenance and repairs of St Peter's Church.
 
 
The PCC has two roles to perform with respect to this bequest*;
 
A Managing Trustees for the assets 
 
B Recipients of the income from the Trust
 
These two roles require PCC members to wear 'two hats', as it were, as the two roles are quite different.
 
 
Essentially;
 
A Managing the trust; there is a legal obligation on the trustees to maximise the return on the investment as making a return is the only purpose for the trust as specified in the will.
 
 
B Spending the income from the trust; the PCC has to allocate the income to the cost of repairs and maintenance of the church fabric.
 
 
In detail;
 
 
A    Managing the trust
 
 
In order to maximise the income from the investment, the PCC has to decide where and how to invest the assets. It has to bear in mind that some investments may promise high return but present a high element of risk. Whilst at the other end of the spectrum some investments offer very little return, but may be very safe.  
 
 
While it is seeking advice on the medium and long term investment, the PCC has instructed the Diocesan Board of Finance to invest the cash capital in an account which gives the highest interest rate currently available, for a high level of security.
 
 
With regard to 202 High Street, the options for the PCC are either to sell the property, realising a modest increase in its cash assets; or let the house out for rent.
 
 
If it were to sell the property the sale price would be comparatively low, and the interest available on the cash would be small in the current climate.
 
 
The PCC has therefore decided to retain no 202 and refurbish it for letting. This will produce a regular income stream at a considerably higher rate of return than selling the property and investing the cash would do.
 
 
The property also has a large garden. Aside from the fact that it is too large for the property and would present a disincentive to potential lets, the PCC has to look to the possibility of making a return on the asset.
 
 
The options for the PCC would seem to be;
 
 
1 Sell the majority of the garden in the open market to the highest bidder as it is.
 
2 Seek planning consent for the development of further properties on the site in order to sell with planning consent. This would probably achieve a higher sale price than without consent.
 
3 Pursue the possibility of developing one or two further properties on the site itself, either for sale or rental.
 
 
A clear disadvantage of options 1 and 2 would be that the PCC would have no control over the subsequent use to which the land was put by the purchaser.
 
 
Currently the PCC is considering a pre-planning application in order to discover the potential for development.
 
 
Meanwhile the garden has been cleared in order to reveal the full extent of the property, remove the nuisance factor due to it being completely overgrown with brambles and to enable the allocation of part of it to the house when it is let.
 
 
B    Spending the income from the trust
 
 
The PCC has taken legal advice about the detail of where the income can be spent. In broad terms the income may be spent on repairs and maintenance of the church building and permanent fixtures. This therefore excludes use of the money for repairs and maintenance of the churchyard.
 
 
The PCC will be drawing up a prioritised list of items following advice from its architect. 
 
 
GMB 2015-06-01
 
 
*NB Ownership of the assets of the trust is vested in the St Alban's Diocesan Board of Finance in accordance with the terms of the Will and the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956.