Town Wells: Extract of Minutes of Community Services Committee

Extract of Minutes of Community Services Committee

Meeting Date: Tuesday, 28 May 2019 starting at 6pm

Present: Councillor R Newmark (Acting Chairman)


J E Alcock, S Atkinson, T Austin, D Birtwhistle, L Edge, S Knox, G Mirfin, S O’Rourke, S Rainford, M Robinson.

J Schuma

In attendance: Director of Community Services, Head of Cultural and Leisure Services, Head of Financial Services and Principal Accountant.

Also in attendance: Councillors B Buller, J Clark, S Fletcher, S Hore and A Knox.


The Chairman welcomed Mr Steve Burke, Chairman of the Clitheroe Civic Society.

Mr Burke spoke in relation to agenda item 10, Clitheroe Town Wells. He referred to the report and thanked the Council for the recognition of the wells being important cultural assets. He also urged Committee to continue taking the necessary steps to take ownership of all 3 wells to obtain the registered title.


The Director of Community Services submitted a report providing Committee with an update on the issue of the town wells in Clitheroe. Following the last Committee, the Civic Society had sought legal advice from a private practice about how ownership of the Heild and St Mary’s wells could be established. This had been provided to the Council for review by the legal section, who in turn had discussed the advice given with the solicitor who provided it. The advice given was consistent with advice given by the Council’s legal team, namely that there are two routes to registration where no title deeds exist. In order to apply for registration based on adverse possession, the Council would need to show evidence that the Council had taken factual possession of the land, had an intention to possess the land, had done so without the owner’s consent, and these conditions had existed for at least 12 years. The Council would not be able to establish this. However, it was recognised that the wells were an important cultural asset that deserve attention to maximise their value.

It was proposed that for the Council to investigate the scope of work needed to address the maintenance issue for all three wells in addition to establishing ownership of Heild and St Mar’s wells, an application be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a small grant to carry out this work.

Committee discussed the issues surrounding the ownership of the wells and acknowledged that further investigation needed to take place to be able to take ownership of the wells and move the issue forward.


1. Committee authorise the Director of Community Services to make an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a small grant to establish ownership of St Mary’s and Heild wells and determine the scope of works necessary for the future maintenance of all three town wells; and

2. the Council continues to cooperate with the Clitheroe Civic Society and the Council’s legal department to establish a way forward with this issue.

This concludes the record of this item.