Parish Council Papers and Statements

RPC statement re judgement in the case of the Bell Fields

The members of Rettendon Parish Council (RPC) are pleased to have achieved resolution regarding the long-running dispute about who are the valid trustees of the two charities associated with the Bell Fields.  The final judgment was handed down by the court on 14 August 2020 and confirms that those appointed by RPC on 25 July 2017 (for a tenure of 4 years) are indeed the trustees.

The dispute was important because, for the nearly 160 years since the fields were allotted for the benefit of residents of Rettendon, it has been the parish council that has either managed the Bell Fields directly or by appointing trustees (each for a limited tenure of 4 years).  With parish council elections every 4 years, residents have been able to determine who are their parish councillors and hence been able to exert influence over how the Bell Fields are managed.  A small group of people, previously appointed by RPC for 4 years, took the position that they had become autonomous and able to appoint further trustees themselves.  RPC's view was this position was without legal foundation, a view subsequently supported by our solicitor and then by expert legal counsel, and ultimately by the court.

There is to be a "consequential hearing" (yet to be scheduled) to determine other aspects of this dispute, so it is best that we limit this statement to the judgment itself and provide residents with a further update once the consequential matters have been also been resolved.