A NATIONAL property consultancy has been appointed to manage land owned by the Church of England in Herefordshire.

The Hereford Diocese has appointed Carter Jonas to manage its church-owned land (glebe) with immediate effect.

The portfolio includes 156 small parcels of land, totalling 1,309 agricultural acres across the county and also in south Shropshire.

The income from glebe land is shared between all parishes in the diocese which reduces the amount of parish offer (where parishes freely give an amount of their choosing to support paying for their vicars and central church support functions) requested. 

Stephen Challenger, property secretary on the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance Executive Committee, said: "The management of the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance’s (HDBF) assets and holdings are of great importance to the future of our parishes and communities, and our estates strategy has a very real impact on the diocese and our stakeholders.

"We welcome Carter Jonas to the diocese and look forward to them helping us all prepare for the future.

"The current economic circumstances pose fresh challenges for the long term and place a certain pressure on the performance of our assets.

"We look forward to working with Carter Jonas as we start to make sensible changes in our approach to land management for the overall benefit of the diocese."

The new agents will assume responsibility for managing the agricultural glebe assets, including advice on the potential sale and purchase of property and land, the promotion of sites to support neighbourhood and county development plans, any sale of or potential purchase of small sections of land, alongside the letting and management of agricultural land.

The property consultancy will uphold and consult on the HDBF’s ethical investment policy, which is designed to increase the long-term value of glebe assets while simultaneously generating a consistent annual income to support the work of the church in the diocese.

It is a stipulation of the HDBF that, when glebe land is sold, all proceeds are reinvested and the income from which helps pay for clergy.

Annual income from glebe land represents 1.8 per cent of the money required to support the diocese’s annual activity, with the majority of money coming from the generosity of churchgoers who give directly and oversee many fundraising activities.

Harry Torrance, a partner at Carter Jonas, said: "The Hereford Diocese is a significant land owner, with assets across Herefordshire and South Shropshire – well-aligned with our expertise. It is a privilege to be entrusted with such a significant rural estate."