Buildings and Property

Buildings and Property

Sustainable Church Buildings Project to help Islington churches cut energy use

The Diocese of London and the Cloudesley charitable trust have launched a new project to help Islington parishes reduce their energy use through the care and maintenance of their church buildings.

June Charities FM Group meeting looks at FM & Wellbeing

The June meeting of the Charities FM Group was on the topic of Facilities Management and Wellbeing.

Patrick Downes and Steve Pozerskis of the property firm Bruton Knowles spoke about chairty property strategy at the Charities Facilities Management Group meeting on 31 January 2017.

Their presentation looked at some the key strategic issues for charities to consider in 2017, including business rates. 

Bruton Knowles is a national property consultancy that works with many charity clients. Their expertise ranges from making the most of land and property assets, to managing property, to analysing relevant legislation, including the provisions of the Charities Act and dealing with the Charity Commission.  

About rates

Business rates are charged on most non-domestic properties. The rates are based on a property's 'rateable value'. The website provides an introduction to the basics of the rates regime. 

Councils send out rates bills in February and March. At present, charities and amateur community sports clubs can apply for rates relief of up to 80% if a property is used for charitable purposes. Charities facilities managers should also check to see whether they  can get additional ‘discretionary relief’. This can be up to 100%.  This discretionary relief is sometimes provided by local councils to give charities extra help.

This rates relief is hugely valuable to the charity sector, and there is increasing concern that councils may be tempted to try and limit the rates discounts they give to voluntary organisations.

The Charity Finance Group has published an in-depth briefing on Charities and business rates relief.  

Rates relief gets especially complicated when charities undertake trading activities, for example running charity shopes or renting out premises. The organisation Help the Hospices has produced a useful briefing about charity shops and rates relief (pdf)

Every few years the government reviews property values and adjusts rateable values accordingly. The next revaluation is in April 2017. 

The slides from Patrick and Steve's discussion about property strategy and business rates are available in pdf format below.

Related materials: 

February deadline for church conservation award

Organisations caring for places of worship have until February to apply for a prestigious conservation award organised by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). 

Churches Sustainability Review launches call for evidence

A Government task force has launched an online survey asking for advice on how to look after church buildings and how to keep them part of local communities. 

Grants available for church roof alarms

The Allchurches Trust has announced a grants scheme to enable churches to install roof alarms to deter metal thieves. 

Churches can apply for a grant of £1,000 towards the cost of a roof alarm system. The alarm system must be approved by their insurer, and the church’s governing body must commit to maintain the system for five years. The closing date for applications is February 28th 2107.  

11th Century Gloucester Cathedral installs solar panels

Gloucester Cathedral is installing solar panels as part of plan to make ancient building fit for the future.

Gloucester Cathedral plans to install up to 200 solar panels on on its roof. The panels will generate 25,000 kilowatts of energy - and will enable the Cathedral to reduce its energy bills by a quarter.

50 Things to do in a Church

The National Churches Trust has launched a campaign to highlight the importance of churches to local people and communities.  The campaign, entitled “50 Things to do in a Church” celebrates the many and diverse ways church buildings are used, and asks the public to share their favourite things to do in a church or chapel.  

Pollutant warning over 'airtight' modern buildings

In the drive to cut energy bills and increase environmental sustainability, architects, designers and facilities managers are increasingly seeking to make buildings airtight.

However new research in Scotland shows that new and refurbished properties designed to be airtight are risking a build-up of harmful chemicals and moisture if people do not use ventilation correctly.

Nearly 1,500 pubs listed as Assets of Community Value

Community groups across England have come together to list their local pubs as community assets in order to protect them from redevelopment.