The Pales – a summary of recent discussions

The Pales – a summary of recent discussions

  • Southern Marches Area Quaker Meeting discussed the future of the Pales  at a meeting on 15 May 21 This is an excerpt from the minutes

At the Threshing meeting [on 27 March] reference was made to heads and hearts and there were many heartfelt pleas made about the significance of the Pales and this is widely recognised and acknowledged. The Pales is also a place of historic significance. There was a strong feeling that the Pales is too important to sell commercially and that other alternatives such as sale or gifting to another charity in sympathy with Quaker values might be more appropriate if we discern that SMAQM cannot sustain it. We have considered these papers and discern that; there is no appetite for the major refurbishment and development of the Pales as described by the Pales Management Group (PMG) 

 It has been said that the Pales is in danger of bankrupting the Area Meeting. Trustees cannot continue to live with this risk. The Pales is currently a drain on SMAQM’s resources both financially and in terms of Friends willing and able to support it. We discern that SMAQM can no longer afford the responsibility of the Pales and that we must form a group to  explore the other options described by PMG.

The terms of reference would be to be explore the options outlined by PMG, in co-operation with neighbouring Area Meetings and the Local Community and to take advice from Friends House as required.

 We particularly ask the group to further discussion with Addoldai Cymru., which is our preferred option, and to report back to AM. It will be necessary to discuss with Friends Trust Ltd whether leasing or gifting to another charity would be legally acceptable and what conditions might be required. We will seek to have concluded decisions by the end of the year.

A  note on Addoldai Cymru, the Welsh Chapels Trust

AC is not a rich organisation. They are unable to buy buildings but they

have experience in raising money for the buildings they take into possession. As the Pales is on their list of significant Welsh chapels, Addoldai Cymru wish to take note of any proposal to dispose of it and to consider how they might want to be further involved. Their initial reaction, following a visit on 28 April, was that the site needed to be treated as a whole.  When AC takes on a building, a first stage is a conservation plan, to prioritise urgent work. Their aim is to preserve the buildings and make them available to the local community, in cooperation with their previous owners. Religious services are welcome, and use by other

groups such as local choirs. Addoldai Cymru aims to work together with  informal groups of local people, to manage their buildings. They are open to negotiations as to whether gift or leasing is appropriate and are keen to cooperate with former owners on sympathetic arrangements for the use of the buildings.

At a  zoom meeting held by the Pales Management Group for local people,  on May 5 2021 It was clear that the special interest and historic significance of the Pales were much appreciated and valued by local people, including  the local Community Council, and the way Addoldai Cymru worked with local people was welcomed. 

Further information

  • A summary of the options presented by the Pales Management Group a Zoom Threshing Meeting on 27th March can be found on the website at:

 https://thepales.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/threshingoptions.pdf ,