The Trustees are monitoring the possible sale of the Blythburgh Estate, as it is our largest neighbour. We have registered our interest with the selling agents as a potential conservation partner for prospective purchasers. There are three aims to this move; (i) aligning conservation objectives, (ii) combining flood protection strategies and (iii) encouraging "friendly" farming practices adjoining the Village. Time will tell if this comes to anything. If it did, we would consult with the Village before taking definitive steps.
In May, land to the rear of Church Lane was entered via the Common by clearance contractors working for the landowner. The contractors had no right to do this and did not obtain the prior consent of the Charity. The landowner has been reminded of the obligation to protect habitat and no further access has been authorised. The boundary is being surveyed, following which we will consider fencing. While this goes against the principle of enclosing the Common, it would prevent unauthorised access.
At the presentation by Village groups, held on 21 April, we explained the increased scrutiny that the Charity was under, not all of it well intentioned. As a consequence the Trustees need to ensure that they protect the Charity by sticking to the rules laid down by our Scheme and the Charities Act. This has highlighted ambiguity over some traditional practices, such as offering advantageous terms to residents. To resolve this ambiguity the Trustees have obtained legal advice and sought clarification from the Charity Commission. Our objective being to retain the status-quo if at all possible. We hope to be in a position to present the outcome of this work in the Autumn, most likely via a public meeting.
Amanda Erlenbach, Trustee, has kindly taken on the role of overseeing the Charity's conservation work under the stewardship agreement with Natural England. Her aim is to ensure that we meet our obligations during the final two years of the agreement. Durrants have been engaged to provide professional advice and support Mandy in this important work.