A leading faith-based publication had found itself involved in a bitter financial battle with a North London church over unpaid rental costs. For the past 40 years, the Catholic Herald has been headquartered in the back of a church located north of the City of London. Last week, however, the publication's lease with the St Mary Moorfields Trust ran out. Since then, the Diocese of Westminster, who owns the building, has demanded that the conservative outlet pay them just under £280,000 in backdated rent and restoration costs.
According to the Financial Times, a vast proportion of the costs related to “dilapidations for the property from the time the tenants had responsibility for the whole site."
The owners - Sir Rocco Forte, publisher William Cash and former Tory MP Brooks Newmark - contest the charges. The Catholic Herald has reportedly made a counter-offer of £125,000, which the Westminster Diocese immediately rejected. The sum, the diocese said, was "below the quotes received to put the property back into repair, which is [the Herald’s] responsibility under the terms of lease."
Mr Cash said he hoped that an agreement would be reached soon as “it would be unholy for this issue to end up in court."
In comments issued to FT, the Catholic Herald said it was “aiming to come to a resolution shortly."
According to Mr Cash, it will move operations to a townhouse in the London district of Victoria at the end of next week.