Derry City Council finally pay their [ground rent] debt

As they promised at the time, the BBC report an update on Derry City Council’s attempt to frustrate the legacy of Raymond Saville Conolly de Montmorency Lecky-Browne-Lecky. 

After his death in 1961 the amateur actor’s dying wish was that two charities, the Actors’ Charitable Trust and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, would benefit from revenues from his estate – including the ground rents from properties he owned in Londonderry. 

One of the ground rents involved was for the City Swimming Baths on William Street, run by Derry City Council.  But the Council hadn’t paid the required £600 per year for some time…

As the BBC’s Julie McCullough now reports

Sharon O’Connor – the chief executive of Derry City Council – said all the money they were due has now been paid.

“We hadn’t been invoiced for almost a decade – so we had no idea at all that anyone was owed anything so when the BBC ran this story I asked people to have a look.

“We had to research our files and to liaise with the legal team acting on behalf of the charities.”

The two charities have received £6,840 between them.

[No idea at all?! – Ed]  That’s not quite how the situation came about in the first place.  As I previously noted from the November BBC report

The BBC has the documents to show that the council was liable to pay these ground rents as far back as 1962.

We also have the documents to show that they had been paying it sporadically as late as the early 1990s – but then the council sent a letter asking for proof that they owed the money.

They wanted a copy of the deed – but solicitor Hugh Logan – who has been looking after the estate for around 30 years – said that wasn’t something they were able to produce.

“The actual document couldn’t be turned up but the fact that the ground landlord, and we are acting on behalf of the ground landlord, couldn’t produce what is called the counterpart deed – the copy deed – the original deed would be in the hands of the person who holds the ground, ie. Derry City Council.”

And the BBC has seen a copy of that deed belonging to Derry City Council – and it clearly says on it that the ground rent is to be paid forever. [added emphasis]

ANYhoo… As the latest BBC report points out

…the two charities will now continue to receive almost £600 every year from the council as part of Browne-Lecky’s legacy.


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