October 6, 2022

First with the Alderney News

States moves to ‘clarify’ Nunnery issue

2 min read

Photo: David Nash

Following discussion about leasing parts of The Nunnery Heritage Site at the People’s Meeting on May 12, the States of Alderney has issued a statement to the effect that any issue is solely about termination or renewal of the lease on The Nunnery.

A spokeperson for the States of Alderney explained that the lease fell due for termination at the end of December 2020 but has been continued on a monthly roll-over basis while fresh proposals are considered.

Next week (May 19) the States will be debatinh a proposal from its Policy & Finance Committee (P&F) to terminate the lease.

The matter of the lease has been discussed at length by the General Services Committee (GSC), the Finance Committee and P&F in recent months with the Alderney Bird Observatory (ABO) submitting a limited grant application for 2021 which was agreed, explained the States.

“The issue is about The Nunnery lease, not about the ABO” said P&F Chairman Bill Abel after the meeting. “It is about the use of The Nunnery under the ‘purpose of use’ which justified the original refurbishment. This needs to be understood and considered in determining the future lease of The Nunnery. The concerns of the Island’s accommodation sector should also be considered.”

The States is known to have spent over spent £300,000 refurbishing the Nunnery to include hostel accommodation for up to 10 visitors and housing for the ABO Assistant Warden. A separate flat is also let to a private tenant who pays rent  to the States.

The initial lease at a peppercorn rent was originally awarded to the Alderney Wildlife Trust (AWT) and was relinquished by them in March 2019.

The ABO, on its split from the AWT in 2019, continued to utilise the Nunnery until a retrospective Tenancy Agreement (to January 2020) was signed in July 2020.

The AWT was tasked with co-ordinating the facilities for the benefit of various interest groups and any earnings in excess of running costs would be returned to the States.

P&F decided at its April meeting to ask the full States, which is convened in public, to debate the lease termination as it is considered a matter of public interest. The Billet item is proposed by Mr Abel and seconded by Boyd Kelly, Chairman of GSC.

“Whatever the outcome of the vote, the States will review its objectives for The Nunnery facilities” said the spokeperson.

1 thought on “States moves to ‘clarify’ Nunnery issue

  1. Facts to ponder…..

    The States of Alderney paid for ALL renovation works.

    SOA paid a start up grant to the ABO.

    The SOA pays the wardens salary.

    The SOA pays for the maintenance of the grounds.

    ABO pay a pepper corn rent (£99.00 per annum, NOT current market rates)

    The tenancy agreement was never approved by any committee.

    ABO have not produced any credible accounts since their start up (this is public money we are talking about here).

    ABO could operate their ringing program from a shed. They do not need an complete fort that sleeps ten or more people.

    People are not against the ABO. They are against the SOA getting involved in the accommodation sector and creating a hugely unfair playing field. Individual operators who have invested heavily to grow their own businesses would love a hand out…..where do I sigh?

    There are better and quicker ways for the SOA to see a return on their investment and the Island’s asset.

    I personally believe that the warden is doing a sterling job with his ringing/research activities and should stick to what he is best qualified to do. Should he wish to get involved in accommodation he is more than welcome to start from scratch.

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