HATHERLEIGH MOOR, THE POTBOILER'S MOOR

 

The Nitty Gritty
in Depth Information, all you need to know

Nitty Gritty

Documents (Access available after YOU login/resister above)

A. Solicitor's letter here received by the committee's solicitor which the committee refused to read out at the AGM. Their Solicitor's reply is not available here for copyright reasons, please ask the Hatherleigh Moor Management committee to show you a physical copy.

B. The report regarding the Mal-Administration of Hatherleigh Moor Financial Affairs. Prepared by a retired Police inspector CID/Fraud Department.

C. Questions to Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee and responses here

D. Items written in the local newsletter here.

E. We are in possession of a three page statement and documentary evidence provided by a committee member who in effect is a whistle blower. Which will be produced if necessary to the relevant authorities along with item A. above.

F. Report from Open Spaces Society.

G. Draft Constitution as we consider it should be

H. For those that are interested see the Fraud Act 2006 legistration.gov.uk here

 

The PotBoilers' Moor is a beautiful 400 acres of managed wilderness (map here) some of which has now arguably been registered under private ownership, this land was given to the poor in the 14th century reputedly by John of Guant, “I, John of Gaunt, Do give and do grant , Hatherleigh Moor, To Hatherleigh poor, for evermore!”  as reported in “The History of Devonshire, by R N Worth 1886”) there has been some doubt that he never came to Hatherleigh his daughter Elizabeth was Duchess of Exeter so there is a good chance!

This was later superseded by the Ministry of Agricultural on September 14th 1951 when it was returned to the PotBoilers of Hatherleigh after the Second World War (as shown in the REGISTER/LOGIN above to see Original Constitution) at the time this was all the households in the Borough of Hatherleigh. Later in the mid 1960s the Potboiler Households were redefined by the Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee to just be the houses that wanted the Potboilers rights (which were then registered under the “The Commons Registration Act of 1965”), so all future homes or their inhabitants could not become PotBoilers’. During this time, allocations were made on people’s means therefore the rich were given big allocations and the poor much smaller ones, contrary to the wishes of John of Guant.

The current Treasurer/Secretary joined the committee in September 1952. (as of May 2020) and his family have been at the helm of the Committee since its inception, both his father and grandfather were previous chairmen.

All the households in the borough of Hatherleigh were contacted by the Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee in the mid 1960’s and were asked how many sheep/cattle they would like to register under the “The Commons Registration Act of 1965”. Some of the registered properties at the time did not have land available other then the moor to graze their stock. The current committee later changed this to only allow Pot Boilers with access to their own grazing to also graze their stock on moor.

The Moor and some surrounding land was registered by present The Lord of the Manor (Deb Laing-Trengrove) in 2012, which makes no reference to the PotBoilers’ or their rights regarding the use of the Moor. see the Government Land Registry Website.

Due to grants given by the Rural Payments agency, which was amounted to £56,375.73 REGISTER/LOGIN above to see 2017/2018 accounts) .

These accounts also show the Treasurer’s son received large sums as did the Chairman, who was also paid for maintaining the moor in good condition as laid out in the Original Constitution shows here , (REGISTER/LOGIN above to see Original Constitution)

Over £100 000 has been given away to outside groups, (The committee’s choice without any reference to the membership)

At the AGM in 2018, a New Constitution was pushed through the meeting with no meaningful debate, REGISTER/LOGIN above to see New Constitution

The Hatherleigh Moor Management committee should be elected by PotBoilers in an open and Democratic manner. The money it collects belongs to the PotBoilers and should only be distributed to whom the PotBoliers have approved. At present it is distributed by the committee to the Graziers, the Committee’s good causes, the upkeep of the moor and a token payment to the PotBoiler households.

Election of members to the committee is made by the existing committee members by co-opting new members then being elected on mass at the following AGM REGISTER/LOGIN above to see New Constitution

The Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee is run as an unincorporated organisation which means they are not a legal identity and the implications that implies to the committee. Due to the committee not registering as a Charity they have had to pay £10,400 in Corporation tax. See the Governments recommendations here

The concerned PotBoilers contacted a solicitor who recommended the issues were brought to mediation this was refused by the Committee. Evidence available.

The 2017 Account Sheet shows a return of over £100 to the Potboiler account.

At the 2018 AGM The Treasurer admitted that he had purchased the bonds with Potboiler Funds and that they had won various prizes amounting to well over £1000 pounds. There is no record of the winnings coming back into any of the 4 account sheets that are available. A solicitor therefore asked that the Treasurer provide proof of the winnings coming from The treasurer’s own bank account because winnings are paid to the individual. This has not been provided.

The main changes we would like to see, to make the running of the committee transparent and open are:-

a.     The name of the committee should be changed to “The PotBoilers’ Committee” for the management of Hatherleigh Moor. To reflect the true situation.

b.     All monies given away should be agreed by all the PotBoilers either at the AGM or an EGM not by the committee. REGISTER/LOGIN above to see 2017/2018 accounts) .This will also avoid any conflict of interest issues.

c.      The association should be registered as a Charity with all the safeguards that in-corporates. At present it is NOT recognised as a legal identity as an unincorporated organisation (see Newlawman.co.uk here) i.e. they cannot be sued or sue. Therefore is not accountable as a legal body. They are acting as a charity by giving monies away therefore should register as such this would also exempt them from tax.

d.     Their accounts should be audited by a registered accountant.

e.     The registration at the land registry of the moor should reflect the boundaries of the moor (map here) with the Rights of the PotBoilers as it is was given to them see REGISTER/LOGIN above to see Original Constitution) and is best practice for Common land throughout England, see Torrington Common on the Land Registry website. The registration should include a map of the moor reflecting the boundaries as identified by the Ordnance Survey.

f.       Every position on the committee should be elected individually if another PotBoiler wishes to stand, not re-elected on mass, this is standard practice.

g.     The constitution should reflect the normal practice that is a vacancy occurs, the membership as a whole should be given the option to stand unless no one comes forward. The practice of co-opting friends and family to the committee should cease.

h.    The constitution should reflect no-one on the committee should gain financially from their position except for reasonable expenses (people should be on the committee because they want to keep the moor in good condition, not for personal gain.) (The graziers, 5 of whom, are committee members get significant payments to graze their stock, REGISTER/LOGIN above to see 2017/2018 accounts) . )

i.       The constitution should reflect no one person should hold more than one office on the committee which is standard practice.

j.       The constitution should reflect no monies belonging to the organization should be in the control of any individual, as has happened in the past. Premium Bonds were held by the treasurer.  2016/2017 accounts here)

k.     Any changes should be made by Standing Orders so all major decisions are recorded and referred to if required which is best practice. These changes must only be made at the AGM or an EGM. As recommended by Original Constitution shown here))

There is a case to be made that the Moor should be set over to rewilding this would remove any risk of conflict of interest.

Documents

A. Solicitor's letter here received by the committee's solicitor which the committee refused to read out at the AGM. Their Solicitor's reply is not available here for copyright reasons, please ask the Hatherleigh Moor Management committee to show you a physical copy.

B. The report regarding the Mal-Administration of Hatherleigh Moor Financial Affairs. Prepared by a retired CID officer.

C. Questions to Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee and responses here

D. Items written in the local newsletter here.

E. We are in possession of a three page statement and documentary evidence provided by a committee member who in effect is a whistle blower. Which will be produced if necessary to the relevant authorities along with item A. above.

F. Report from Open Spaces Society.

G. Draft Constitution as we consider it should be

H. For those that are interested see the Fraud Act 2006 legistration.gov.uk here