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(1)Subject to subsections (9) and (10) below, this section applies to any premises if—
(a)the premises are held by or in trust for a charity (“the relevant charity”), and
(b)the whole or part of the premises has been used as a place of public worship; but
(c)the premises are not a church subject to the provisions of the Pastoral Measure 1983.
(2)If the court is satisfied, with respect to any premises to which this section applies (“the relevant premises”)—
(a)that those premises are no longer required (whether wholly or in part) for use as a place of public worship, and
(b)that one of the following, namely—
(i)the Secretary of State,
(ii)the Commission, or
(iii)a prescribed charity,
is or are willing to enter into an agreement to acquire those premises by way of gift or for a consideration other than full consideration, but
(c)that it is not within the powers of the persons in whom those premises are vested to carry out such an agreement except by virtue of this section,
the court may, under its jurisdiction with respect to charities, establish a scheme for the making and carrying out of such an agreement.
(3)A scheme established under subsection (2) above may, if it appears to the court proper to do so, provide for the acquirer of the relevant premises also to acquire (whether by gift or for a consideration other than full consideration or otherwise)—
(a)any land held by or in trust for the relevant charity which is contiguous or adjacent to those premises; and
(b)any objects which are or have been ordinarily kept on those premises.
(4)In subsections (2) and (3) above, in relation to the acquisition of the relevant premises or the acquisition of any land or object—
(a)references to acquisition by the Secretary of State are references to acquisition by him under section 5 of the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 (acquisition by him of buildings of historic or architectural interest); and
(b)references to acquisition by the Commission are references to acquisition by them under section 5A of that Act (acquisition by them of buildings of historic or architectural interest).
(5)A scheme established under subsection (2) above may also provide for conferring on the acquirer of the relevant premises—
(a)such rights of way over any land held by or in trust for the relevant charity as appear to the court to be necessary—
(i)for the purpose of the discharge of the acquirer’s functions in relation to those premises or to any land acquired under the scheme, or
(ii)for giving to the public reasonable access to those premises or to any such land, and
(b)so far as is necessary for the purpose of the discharge of such functions or the giving of such access, any rights of way enjoyed by persons attending services at those premises.
(6)The Charity Commissioners may, on the application of the acquirer of the relevant premises, by order establish a scheme under [F2section 16 of the Charities Act 1993] (Commissioners’ concurrent jurisdiction with the High Court for certain purposes) making provision for the restoration of the relevant premises, or part of them, to use as a place of public worship.
(7)The Charity Commissioners may so establish any such scheme notwithstanding—
(a)anything in [F3subsection (4) of section 16 of that Act], or
(b)that the relevant charity has ceased to exist;
and if the relevant charity has ceased to exist, any such scheme may provide for the constitution of a charity by or in trust for which the relevant premises are to be held on the restoration of those premises, or part of them, to use as a place of public worship.
(8)The Charity Commissioners shall have the same jurisdiction and powers in relation to the establishment of a scheme under subsection (2) above as they have under the provisions of [F4section 16 of the Charities Act 1993] (except subsection (6)) in relation to the establishment of a scheme for the administration of a charity; and [F4section 20] of that Act (publicity for proceedings under [F4section 16], etc.) shall accordingly have effect in relation to the establishment of a scheme under subsection (2) above as it has effect in relation to the establishment of a scheme for the administration of a charity.
(9)In relation to the Commission—
(a)this section only applies to any premises falling within subsection (1) above if they are situated in England, and
(b)references in this section to land are references only to land situated in England.
(10)In relation to a prescribed charity, this section only applies to any premises falling within subsection (1) above if they constitute either—
(a)a listed building within the meaning of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, or
(b)a scheduled monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.
(11)The Secretary of State may direct that any charity specified in the direction shall be a prescribed charity for the purposes of this section; and any direction under this subsection may be varied or revoked by a further direction given by the Secretary of State.
(12)References in this section to the acquirer of the relevant premises are references to the person or body acquiring those premises by virtue of a scheme established under subsection (2) above.
(13)In this section and section 5 below—
“the Commission” means the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England;
“premises” includes a part of a building;
“prescribed charity” shall be construed by reference to subsection (11) above;
and [F5sections 96 and 97 of the Charities Act 1993] (interpretation) shall have effect for the purposes of this section and section 5 below as they have effect for the purposes of that Act.]
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