Members of Norton Town Council have been told they are unable to make a donation to a church boiler appeal due to a law dating back to the 19th century.
The town council has received a request from St Peter’s Church in Norton requesting funding towards a replacement boiler for the church.
The church has recently had to replace its boiler at a cost of £25,440 and is now fundraising and looking for grants to pay this cost.
However, councillors were told that any request to contribute towards church property was prohibited by the Local Government Act 1894, which still applied, and as such would be an illegal use of council funds.
Cllr Ann Spencer said:
“As much as I see St Peter’s as a prominent building and the town and would like to do something to help, if rules and regulations are in place than I can’t see what we can do.”
Cllr David Lloyd-Williams said there may have been a way round it if the boiler had been in the Church House next door rather than the church itself.
“As it is, it is the responsibility of the Church of England,”
Cllr Hugh Spencer said:
“If we can’t give them a donation then perhaps we can help the appeal by supporting any fundraising events that they organise.”
Cllr Di Keal said she felt the St Peter’s was much more than just a church.
“The church is also very much a community building and used for a number of activities such as the Christmas tree festival and various events throughout the year,”
“I understand an application for funding had been made to Ryedale District Council for church funding so if they can approve it I’m not sure why we can’t do the same.”
Cllr Keal added:
“It if is down to legislation from 1894 then it is time it is changed.”
To support the appeal, go to justgiving.com/campaign/StPetersBoiler
Written By: Karen Darley
First Published 06.02.19: https://www.gazetteherald.co.uk/news/17466996.19th-century-law-puts-pay-to-st-peters-church-donation/