New Vale Rector waives home maintenance obligation

Wed 01 Mar 2023

A new Rector for the Vale Parish Church has been appointed and was formally installed at a special service at the Church last night. Lt-Governor Richard Cripwell presented her to the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Rev Tim Barker, for institution and induction as Rector of St Michel du Valle.

The Rev Beverley Herve has been appointed Rector at Vale Church. (Guernsey Press picture by Peter Frankland)

The service is significant for the Church and the parish, which has been without a Rector since Father Stuart Tanswell left the island to take up another ecclesiastical post in Wales at the end of 2021.

In another development, it has also been announced that that the Rector and the Churchwardens have agreed, during the time when a Rector is not in residence, to waive their legal right to request ratepayers to pay to keep the Rectory wind and watertight.

The Vale is different to many other parishes in that the Ratepayers don’t own the Vale Rectory. The original one stood on what is now Maison Maraitaine and the current Douzaine Room has been built on what was then Church-owned land. The States purchased the old Rectory and the Church gave the land for the douzaine room. The new Rectory was built on Cure land adjoining the Vale Church and is owned by the Rector and Churchwardens.

Since 2015, following a decision made by a former Rector, supported by the Churchwardens, not to claim for external repairs for the time being, no request has been made to ratepayers for maintenance to the Rectory, with the congregation funding any works required.

"While the current recruitment process for a new Rector was underway, one of our douzeniers raised the question of what would happen in the event of the Rectory not being occupied, possibly for an extended period of time," said Senior Constable Richard Leale. "He was concerned that after, say, five or 10 years, a formal request could be made to ratepayers to pay for substantial works to a property that isn't theirs."

The issue was raised with representatives of the Churchwardens, who agreed to consider this while a new Rector was being appointed. Now the appointment has been made, Mr Leale said he had officially been notified that the Church would (subject to any changes in the law) formally waive its legal right to require Ratepayers keeping the Rectory wind and watertight while the Rectory was not occupied by the Rector.

"We are grateful for this, because a majority of the Douzaine considered the situation to be an anomaly that needed to be rectified. Longer term, it seems clear that the law does need to be rescinded by the States to remove the obligation from ratepayers, much as we're grateful for this waiver," said Mr Leale. 
  • The Reverend Herve will continue to live in her own home near Cobo but will operate as Vale Rector from a study at the Vale Rectory. The Rectory itself is to be let at a commercial rent.

Below: The Vale's new Rector Bev Herve with the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Rev Tim Barker, at last night's special institution and induction service

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