The Parish of West Swindon and the Lydiards have declared that they have no claim for chancel repairs on any domestic property in West Swindon, Lydiard Tregoze or Lydiard Millicent.
There is no reason for any householder in West Swindon to expect a repair bill from the PCC and there is no need for anyone purchasing property in West Swindon to pay for a solicitor or conveyancer to investigate this issue.
There has been recent publicity about the issue from London law firm Shoosmiths which has been picked up by the BBC about the recent Land Registry closing date for registration of historic Chancel Repair Liability on property where this had not previously appeared on the deeds.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of the Parish of West Swindon and the Lydiards have investigated this, and can announce that no domestic property has such liability. The PCC has decided that no payments will be demanded from householders in West Swindon, Lydiard Tregoze or Lydiard Millicent.
Lydiard House and Lydiard Park lands have a chancel repair obligation for St Marys in Lydiard Park.
There are some domestic properties in Grange Park that have on their deeds an obligation to pay a £10 annual charge, but the PCC believe they all also have the benefit of Swindon Borough Council’s commitment to pay this instead of householders. Swindon Borough Council have been paying the charge.
The annual charge dates from the will of Sir John, 1st Baronet St John in 1645, who left £10 a year from the proceeds of land he had recently bought, in order to maintain his family vault, tombs and monuments in St Mary’s church Lydiard Tregoze.
When the Bolingbroke estate sold the relevant land to Thamesdown Borough Council in 1943 the council explicitly took on the responsibility from the subsequent landowners.
The deeds for these properties say “…and lands unknown”, the extent of the properties affected is currently unknown.
The PCC are attempting to define the exact extent of this land, and we believe it comprises land between the Hay Lane footpath and Lydiard Park Academy secondary school.
This investigation is incomplete, and of purely historic interest; it has no bearing on the chancel repair bills.
Chris Scarisbrick, secretary to PCC, West Swindon and the Lydiards said: “We are glad to reassure folk in West Swindon and the rest of the parish, that we will not be presenting them with repair bills. The important message is that people thinking of buying a house locally will not need to pay for any investigations or purchase insurance to cover any unknown possibility. We have done the work, it only affects the council.”
Rev Capt Clive Deverell, Team Minister at St Marys in Lydiard Park added: “We have recently committed to conserve and repair the very splendid Church at St Marys in Lydiard Park. The bill is huge but being paid for from the PCC funds and mostly from grants we have received.
"Residents of West Swindon are very welcome to come and inspect the monuments for which Swindon Borough Council have been contributing to the maintenance. If you come on a Sunday afternoon in June, strawberry teas will be on sale.”
Photos inside St Mary’s Lydiard Park by Richard Wintle of Calyx
• The Parish of West Swindon and the Lydiards covers the historic parishes of Lydiard Millicent and Lydiard Tregoze, the villages of Hook, Greatfield, Lydiard Green and Lydiard Plain and now also includes the communities of Toothill, Westlea, Freshbook, Grange Park, Eastleaze, Shaw, Middleleaze, Nine Elms, Peatmoor and Sparcells
The parish has a regular worshipping community of 400 or so people, meeting at All Saints’ church in Lydiard Millicent, St Mary’s church in Lydiard Park, Toothill Church, Holy Trinity church Shaw, and Westlea church meeting at Westlea School.
The parish was formed in 1986, when the old parishes of All Saints Lydiard Millicent and St Marys Lydiard Tregoze were merged.
For more information contact the Partnership Office
c/o Holy Trinity Church,
Shaw Village Centre, Swindon