Transfer of £150,000 to Glover House for redevelopment

Councillors today (Weds 17 Aug) agreed to transfer £150,000 from the Bridge of Don Trust to Glover House, the former family home of Thomas Glover who was a major influence on the industrialisation of Japan.

The Bridge of Don Trust had accumulated surplus cash, and members of Full Council agreed a recommendation that £150,000 of these trust funds be used for a grant towards the redevelopment of Thomas Glover House.

A feasibility study is being carried out for Glover House to identify a sustainable use for the property.

Aberdeen City Council Finance, Policy and Resources convener Councillor Willie Young said: “We welcome this extra money for Glover House which we recognise is an important part of the history of Aberdeen and the north-east, through the heritage of what Thomas Blake Glover achieved in Japan.

“The cash will be a welcome investment helping to secure the future of Glover House.”

The Bridge of Don Trust was established in the 16th century to fund and maintain a bridge across the River Don. When this trust was established the maintenance of bridges was a charitable purpose.

The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (the “2005 Act”) does not recognise bridge maintenance as a charitable purpose. Under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 the maintenance of bridges is the duty of the local council or in the case of bridges forming part of trunk roads, Transport Scotland has that duty.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has taken the view that within the 2005 Act, the advancement of heritage best reflects the original trust purposes of the Bridge of Don Fund given the passage of time that the trust has existed and the changes to charity legislation.

OSCR agreed that the advancement of heritage can be applied to the whole City of Aberdeen as the Bridge of Don was for the benefit of the entire city.

The Bridge of Dee Trust will be subject to the next re-organisation application to OSCR requesting that the trusts fund be transferred to the Bridge of Don Trust to be used for the same charitable purpose – the advancement of heritage. Work is ongoing on drafting a revised constitution for the Guildry and the Educational Endowment Investment Fund.