Trust gears up to launch public consultation

Malvern Hills Trust is planning ahead for a summer of engagement and consultation. This being in connection with its plans to update its governing Acts and make the charity fit for the future. It is the first time in 30 years that new legislation is proposed for this 140-year old organisation.

Full details of the Trust’s proposals will be announced on the Trust’s website this month and the Trust will be running a public consultation to gather the views of as many members of the public as possible.

The consultation will be supported by five drop-in sessions to provide the opportunity to meet staff and trustees and to discuss the proposals, ask questions and make comments. This includes a session at Malvern Theatre’s Circle Bar in Great Malvern on Sunday 7 July from 1.30pm-5.30pm. The Trust will also be attending other public events such as parish and town council meetings.

Over the next few months the Trust will be working on establishing the options for change, and discussing these options with stakeholders and Government Departments. The Trust is also keen to speak with local organisations, who may have concerns.

The Trust’s last public consultation took place in 2019. There was an excellent response and the Trust has incorporated some of the suggestions received into its revised proposals. The Trust will be making the changes by Private Bill.

Trust CEO Deborah Fox said:

“I feel it is important to take time to understand local concerns. The Trust is open to learning about the objectives of local stakeholders. We welcome invitations to speak at upcoming events and I look forward to meeting members of the public at the drop-in events that we will run alongside our public consultation.”

“The proposals are about making the Trust fit for the 21st century. We need to be able to diversify our income streams, and raise funds in the same way as other charities. Examples might be to charge for selling wood. Current constraints mean we can only ask for a donation.”

“The Trust will be making the changes by Private Bill. I know this term is causing concern. These are generally promoted by organisations and only change the law as it applies to that specific organisation, as distinct from ‘Public Bills’ which apply to everyone.

“The Trust’s outdated legislation puts undue onus on levy payers and those using our car parks to cover the costs of managing 3,000 acres with open public access for all. I feel more people outside of the area could be contributing to the upkeep of the Hills and Commons, for example, by joining in fundraising events.”

“Under the proposals, the essential objects of the charity – to preserve public access and to look after the landscape will remain the same but expressed in more modern language. As now, the Trust will not be able to sell off its land and, nor allow building upon it.” 

There will be no changes to the Trust’s power to grant rights of access to adjoining land and no changes to who pays the levy and who can vote in trustee elections. 

The Trust has published a series of frequently asked questions on its website.