Annual Report of Claxton Parish Pit Trust April 2016

Membership:

Roland Kaye, Chair and independent member
Pat Clare, Secretary and Chair of Parish Council
Mike Balmer, Treasurer Independent
Mary Button, Parish Councillor
Paul Carter, representing Parochial Church Council
Jason Cantrill, Parish Councillor
David Hamblin, Parish Councillor
Kevin Parker, Independent
Richard White, Parish Councillor

Introduction
Claxton Parish Pit Trust is a registered charity 243172. The Trust receives income from three assets. Ducan’s Marsh, a Site of Scientific Interest, for which grants are received from Natural England as well as grazing rent. Number 3 the Warren which is a semi-detached house in the village which is let. The allotments are leased from the Claxton Manor Estate and administered by the Trust on behalf of the parish. In addition the Trust shares income from the solar panels which are fitted to the Village Hall which were funded by the Trust.

Subject to payment of the expenses (maintaining the properties and meeting all other outgoings payable in their respect and charges and expenses incidental to administration and management of the charity) the Trustees shall apply the income of the charity for the charitable purpose for the general benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Claxton. (Quote from Charity Commission).

Governance
The Governing Document of the Claxton Pit Trust is available on the village web site for all to read.

N.B. Trustees are not remunerated and do not claim expenses.

The Trustees have been advised by the Charity Commission that the following guiding principles should be followed:

  • That the funds be targeted rather than shared generally,
  • That the funds be applied in support of existing statutory benefits such as social security to avoid loss of benefits,
  • That the funds be used where other funds are not available.

In addition the Trust has established the following principles:

up to £2,000 pa available annually as a bursary for educational purposes, up to £500 per case for assistance to the elderly or anyone incapacitated, to help with maintenance of properties excluding any capital works and up to £100 per annum towards the cost of hospital visits to family In addition any other requests will be considered by the Trustees, who will hold the information in confidence

Following these principles the Trustees have sought to benefit the parish and parishioners.

This report summarises the activities in 2015/16.

Meetings
This has been a challenging and financially draining year for the Trust. The Trust has met six times in 2015/16 to ensure management of the assets and review requests and plans. In addition there have been several meetings of a sub group which have overseen the refurbishment of No3 The Warren which was a major project resulting in a major enhancement in asset value and rental income which will allow rebuilding of reserves and meet future needs of the Trust.

Assets:
No 3 Warren – This is the primary asset of the Trust and in autumn 2014 the long term tenant moved to Chedgrave. Competitive quotations were sought from builders and other trades which delayed the start of work and in addition some additional work was required which increased the costs. The property required major refurbishment and improvements and included:

  • New bathroom
  • New Kitchen
  • New Double Glazing throughout
  • New Central Heating system
  • Upgrading of electrics
  • Remodelling of interior to provide attractive living area
  • Redecoration throughout
  • External clearance and reseeding
  • Removal of old conservatory etc.

The result is a property which generates double the previous rent and has raised the asset value to circa £190,000. Given the historic book value was £56,000, the Trust has agreed to capitalise the expenditure of £36,445.14.

The property is now let and the Trust have used professional property managers to manage the tenancy including search and selecting tenants.

Ducan’s Marsh
Under the agreement with Natural England, we are now subject to Higher Level Stewardship management which while providing grant income requires us to pro-actively manage the site in line with their guidance. South Yare Wildlife Group has continued to provide support with volunteers taking part in working parties and organising a very successful open day for the village and visitors. Kevin Parker has played the lead role in liaising with NE and coordinating the working parties. Ongoing working parties will take place so there will continue to be calls for assistance of volunteer working parties. Access to the site is restricted due to the sensitive nature of the site and grazing animals. The Open day will be an annual event and notices will be circulated inviting the village to visit and have guided tour of this premier SSSI.

This year we trialled more concentrated grazing of the marsh using ponies to strip graze and this appears to have been successful and will be repeated in 2016.

Additional work is to take place on the site funded from a grant from the Postcode Local Trust which will allow ditches to be cleared, fencing and bridge repairs, etc. There will also be a noticeboard and leaflets to describe the flora and fauna on the site to use at open days.

Allotments
The Allotments are managed by the Trust on behalf of the Parish Council and the Trust funded the installation of water supply. Two of the available plots have now been let with the third let due shortly.

Solar Panels on Village Hall
These panels are proving to be effective and provide income which is shared by the Trust and the Village Hall.

Treasurer’s Report
The Trust’s accounts are currently being audited professionally. An unaudited financial statement is available and on the Village website and notice board. As previously indicated the Trust had a major project in refurbishing No3 and this consumed all of our reserves.

GRKaye 1/5/16

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