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Readers will recall the recent controversy over the three parcels of parish land set aside for allotments, and notably the piece of land next to the village hall in Church Road. Members of Steep parish narrowly voted last year not to support proposals for that particular site, and the Parish Council next resolved to set up a body of independent trustees to take on the task of deciding what should to be done to make best use of these pieces of land. Volunteers were called for, and in due course the council resolved to appoint the following trustees:

  • Matilda Clark, a Church Road young mother, fairly new to the village
  • Geoffrey Dale, Chartered Surveyor from Steep Marsh and a churchwarden
  • David Dobson, from Steep Marsh and editor of the newsletter
  • Janet Smith, a retired teacher who lives on the parish border in Reservoir Lane
  • Robert Venables, a solicitor and charity specialist, who lives just outside the parish
  • Michael White, a retired Civil Servant from Ridge Common Lane
  • Jeremy Young, a Chartered Surveyor, who lives on Stoner Hill

The trustees have now had their first meeting, and this is how things stand. An application has been made for registration as a charity, and the Charity Commission has stipulated that we must start from the original purpose of providing allotments “for the labouring poor of the …Parish of Steep”. We believe that “the labouring poor” should now be regarded as meaning those in need. If however these criteria cannot be met, and the charity is therefore unable to discharge its duties, then the trustees must seek approval for other uses of the land, as long as they continue to be for the benefit of the needy of the parish.

Our first task therefore is clear; we need to find out if there are any in Steep Parish who are in need, and who wish to have an allotment. Once that is done, we shall again report via the newsletter. In the meantime, we are contacting individuals and organisations that deal with social needs in order to identify potential beneficiaries, and we hope readers of the newsletter too will let us know of anyone they feel might qualify.

David Dobson, on behalf of the trustees