I write to give a further update on the discussions of the new Trustees with the Charity Commission (CC) to establish the new charity. This follows my earlier updates in this Newsletter in September 2011, February 2012, November 2012, June 2013 and a more substantive note in May 2014. Until the new charity is properly established and recognised legally by the CC the future of all three allotment sites remains in limbo.
Although the discussions with the CC have been harmonious they have not been easy. Based on our experience it seems far simpler to establish a new charity from scratch than to update the aims of an existing charity. I reported in my update in May 2014 that we had agreed the aims of the new charity but that in order to reach agreement we had had to compromise from our preferred wording. This resulted in the new aims being significantly more restrictive than we were originally seeking.
The next stage once the aims were agreed was for the CC to draft the wording of the new scheme under which the charity would be governed. We received this draft in July 2014. We were then advised that the draft wording was defective with the risk that the legality of the new charity could be challenged in the future. This was clearly an unacceptable situation.
Thus we had to persuade the CC through detailed legal argument that we were right and that their wording was inadequate. As can be imagined this was no easy task. The CC wrote to apologise for their delay in responding because due to the complexity of the matter it had to be referred to a high level in the Commission.
Fortunately our argument clearly carried weight and new wording was produced by the CC at the end of April this year which satisfied our concerns and which we accepted. It has been an extraordinarily long and frustrating debate with the CC since the first meeting of the new Trustees in June 2011.
The next step is for the CC to carry out public consultation so that members of the public can make comments. The formal notice drafted by the CC is shown below and will also be displayed on two noticeboards in the Parish. Each notice gives a link to the CC website which contains details of the wording of the new scheme. The public consultation lasts for one month after which the CC will issue the scheme on the assumption that the public consultation does not raise any substantive issues.
At this stage the Trustees will then be formally appointed and at last able to make decisions about the three sites.
Geoffrey Dale (Chair of Trustees) 894 570
Charity Commission SCHEME
Charity: Allotments formerly held by Steep Parish Council, and now to be named The Steep in Need Charity.
The Commission proposes to make a Scheme (a legal document) for this charity. The Scheme will change the purpose of the charity and enable the trustees to sell its property. A copy of the Scheme can be seen at
(If you cannot access this please call our contact centre on 0300 066 9197 or textphone 0300 066 9219).
Comments or representations on these proposals can be made to the Commission within one month from 1 Jul 2015 by completing the form on our website. Please quote 4008998/C-364082