Friday, April 20, 2012

When does a repair becomes a replacement

First St Mary's Eaton Socon Church wants a car park and gets one. Now they want a replacement boundary wall. And the Council Taxpayer will be forking out for this.

In the minutes for the Town Council Operations and Amenities Committee the following is minuted:

(ii) Repairs to the Church Wall at St Mary’s Church, Eaton Socon.
The Acting Town Clerk had spoken to Reverend Timothy Robb who had confirmed that the only option they would consider would be a replacement wall. A meeting had been arranged with a neighbouring resident and planning and conservation officers from HDC at the end of the month.

From what I have read, the Town Council has the responsibility to maintain and repair the boundary wall. There is nothing here about the replacement of the boundary wall which remains the property of the Church.

Maintain: Keep (something) at the same level or rate.
Repair:  Fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault).
Replacement: The action or process of replacing something.

I contend the Town Council has a duty to repair and maintain the boundary wall. I also contend it doesn't have a duty to replace the wall. That is the duty of the owner of the land. And the owner of the land is the Church.

In its 2010 accounts (the annual update was received 23 days late) shows the Church received £17,499 in recovered income tax. Whilst it lost just over £14,261 the church also spent £26,421 on re-building the pipe organ.

In the end it will be the Council taxpayer that picks up the bill for a wall that is owned by the church. If the Church wants a replacement wall then the church should pay for a replacement wall and let the Town Council Taxpayer stump up for maintaining and repairing the wall as required by law. 

1 comment:

Julia said...

No Town Council money was spent on the car park - it was ultimately paid for by Tesco. I distinctly remember a TC meeting where we were roundly criticised for this by Cllr Farrer, whose position was that we should not be beholden to a large company. Apparently we should have simply continued to let him fill in the holes with a bit of ash each year. (as if being beholden to a politician is any better?)