Land dispute case assessed by charity tribunal

It will decide whether to consider appeal against Charity Commission's refusal to act

Keswick Town Council
Keswick Town Council

The charity tribunal is assessing an appeal against the Charity Commission's decision not to remove a charity from its register after a complaint from a local resident.

The complaint, from Christopher Lasper, concerned a charity called The Town Field, based in Keswick, Cumbria. The charity is responsible for maintaining a small local recreation ground.

Keswick Town Council is its sole trustee. The council funds the maintenance of the ground and was given responsibility for doing so in 1951.

Lasper complained after noticing a charity registration number on a sign at the entrance to the ground. He asked the commission to remove the charity from its register on the grounds that it no longer owned the recreation ground and therefore no longer existed.

He told the commission that an order of the Commons Commissioners, a panel of land law experts set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to adjudicate on common land disputes, had handed the land over to the council. He argued that the order removed the charity's right to own the land.

In its final decision document, published in August, the commission ruled that the order by the Commons Commissioners had not lifted the charitable trusts and it could not be said that the charity did not own the land.

The tribunal is assessing whether to allow Lasper to appeal against the commission's decision. A spokesman for the tribunal was unable to say when it would announce if the appeal would go ahead.

Third Sector was unable to contact Lasper for comment.

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