The Charity’s Reason for the sale of the Cemetery Land to the Parish Council

Milton under Wychwood Cemetery, Bruern Road

Introduction

The Cemetery as a Social Amenity for the Village

Milton is in an AONB. The burial ground is set on the outskirts of the village making it a pleasant and tranquil place of rest. It caters for the residents of the village and their families. It can also cater for those from further afield who choose the be buried there. There is also the provision for natural burials in non concentrated ground.

Perceived History of Burial Ground It has long been thought that the burial ground in Bruern Road was the property of the Parish Council. The Parish Council has the authority to bury the deceased on the land but the land still belongs to the Milton Allotment and Recreation Charity, formerly The Fuel Allotments Charity. This situation was only discovered recently when searching Parish archives for other matters. Although the Parish Council applied to the Charity Commissioners for use of the land as a burial ground in 1972 and again 2004 and permission from the Charity Commissioners was granted for this to happen, the transfer of the land was never completed. Therefore:

Under S121 (2) of the Charities Act 2011, Disposal of Charity Land, the Charity wishes to dispose of the land, freehold, to the Parish Council to regularise the ownership of the Cemetery.

As this land is already used by the Parish Council as a burial ground it will not be marketed but sold to the Parish Council at a price suggested by a suitably appropriate external third party.

Original argument for selling the land for use as a burial ground. This is historical but an important aspect for completing the sale of the land to the Parish Council. The existing churchyard cemetery is full and closed. Therefore permission from the Charity Commissioners was requested, and granted, in 1972 and again in 2004 for the acquisition of charity land, The Fuel Allotment, to be used as a burial ground. We are now attempting to complete this transaction.

Regularisation The charity doesn’t have the authority to bury people, this is held by the Parish Council under S15 of the Local Authorities’ Cemetery Act 1977. By selling the land to the Parish Council it will regularise the present situation of the incomplete transactions when obtaining the land for burial purpose in 1972 and again in 2004.

Current Charity argument for selling the land used for the burial ground.

Financial Running the cemetery is always going to be a continual drain on the finances of the charity. In 2020, when I took over the administration of the charity, the fees for burial were doubled as no increase had been made in the previous 8 years. This brought them roughly in line with other burial grounds in the vicinity. However, even so, the income and expenses are never likely to break even. The income from burials is unpredictable but the expenditure on the cemetery is very predictable. Expenditure has been roughly twice the income over the past five years. As the intention is to provide an affordable service for the local community it can’t be run as a profitable business proposition. Although we have a team of volunteers in the village who maintain and carry out small projects, the upkeep of the burial ground is mainly down to contractors for grass cutting and tree maintenance. It is also proposed to employ a permanent groundsperson to maintain the cemetery to an acceptable standard.

The sale of the land to the Parish Council would allow the charity to better further its Objects and support charity beneficiaries – those who use the allotments and field, and the inhabitants of Milton – those who use the recreational facilities of the village, both inline with the Object of the charity, as outlined below. The Charity does not have the capital or income to cover the costs of the upkeep of the Cemetery. The Parish Council would better be able to cover the deficit arising from running and managing the burial ground from its Precept budget.

Suitably Appropriate External Third Party for Valuation After an extensive search for land valuers, Savills and Carter Jonas presented us with an acceptable estimate of the land value. Of these, Carter Jonas was invited to site to produce a formal valuation. Carter Jonas were of the opinion that the market value of the burial ground is £10,000 exclusive of VAT.

OBJECT OF THE CHARITY (What its purpose is)

FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF ANY RECREATION GROUND OR OPEN SPACE HELD FOR THE GENERAL BENEFIT OF INHABITANTS OF THE PARISH OF MILTON-UNDERWYCHWOOD AND FOR SUCH OTHER CHARITABLE PURPOSES FOR THE GENERAL BENEFIT OF SUCH INHABITANTS AS THE TRUSTEES THINK FIT.

We consider the Allotment Field to be part of the ‘Recreation Ground or Open Space’ for the benefit of Milton inhabitants. We also consider the Recreation Ground in the village, a separate charity, to be part of these benefits. See also: Consultation Process document Possible benefits from the sale document .

Chris Trotman

Chairman

Milton Allotment and Recreation Charity

(Formally The Fuel Allotments)