St Aidan’s Church sale

Three years ago, it was agreed that St Aidan’s church and grounds be released for sale and it was put into the hands of an estate agent.  It was hoped that it could be sold for development.

It generated a great deal of interest.

When the land was originally gifted to the Diocese by the Burton family, the then owner of the house and land adjacent to the Church, they did so with a Covenant, that prevented the land ever being used for anything other than a Catholic Church.

When they sold the house and moved away, the Covenant passed to the new owners, Mr and Mrs Ferguson.

We [and when I say we, I mean us, in conjunction with the Diocesan property department] when we tried to buy the Covenant from them, they were adamant that they were not prepared to surrender it – in their words “at any price”.

Investigations then took place, to try to find a use, by the Diocese, for the building.  There were a number of options, but at this point serious direct negotiations began with the Fergusons, who now wanted to purchase the land themselves.

These have been long and complicated.

However, I am delighted to report that the sale was finally concluded last Thursday and contracts exchanged for the sum of £210,000.

Before we all throw our hats in the air let us not forget that our overdraft is currently £225,000, but it does mean that we can move forward with projects that have been on hold for a long time.

Although St Aidan’s has been empty for the last 3 years, for insurance purposes, we have had to carry out regular site inspections, so special thanks to Michael Cheal and his Wythall helpers for carrying these out so diligently.

Thanks also to the Diocesan Property Department for their support, and finally to you all for not pushing us too hard for information, which of necessity has had to remain highly confidential.  We would have kept you informed, if we had been able, but trust you understand that it could have prejudiced what were at times difficult and delicate negotiations.

Now all is concluded, we will keep you fully briefed on how we will judiciously handle this wonderful windfall, which is indeed the perfect Christmas gift for the Parish.