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Appeal to charity tribunal over Charity Commission decision on grazing rights

Challenge to regulator's decision to allow trustees of a group of charities in Shropshire to bid to rent the charites' land for grazing

Appeal lodged over decision on grazing rights
Appeal lodged over decision on grazing rights

An appeal has been made to the charity tribunal against a recent Charity Commission decision to allow the trustees of a group of charities including Shropshire-based Llanfair Waterdine Relief in Need to bid to rent the charities' land for grazing.

The commission recently agreed to revise a scheme governing several small charities that own land in Llanfair Waterdine in Shropshire and which have a joint group of trustees.

The commission's decision document says that the charities rent out land to local farmers for grazing, that five of the six trustees were farmers and that they wanted the same rights as others to bid for grazing rights to the land.

The commission agreed that board members could bid to graze animals on charity land at a public auction for up to a year without having to seek the permission of the commission.

A charity tribunal official said that the appellant, Roger Thomas, was a trustee of the Llanfair Waterdine charities: however this name is not among the five trustees currently listed on the commission’s website.

The commission received complaints that trustees were already bidding for grazing rights, in contravention of the charity’s governing documents. The decision document referred to two representations from local people objecting to the changes, saying the board was attempting to "seek authorisation for a practice which has already damaged the reputation of the charity".

The tribunal official could not confirm the grounds on which Thomas had lodged his appeal.

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