A town council has been ordered to hold a consultation about the charitable status of an area of marshlands.

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Beccles Town Council last night agreed to give the public a chance to have their say about recognising a particular area of Beccles Fen as “charitable”, on the demand of the Charity Commission.

The council agreed that the town’s charter would detail the proposals, with an open day held.

Councillor Jeffrey Harris said he hoped it would resolve the issue after “three years of nonsense about the area”. Councillor Brian Taylor said he feared there would be so many ideas it would “open a big can of worms”, but mayor Graham Catchpole said they had “no choice”.

Two years ago, Beccles Fenland Charity Trust was formed to manage Beccles Fen, with the council as the sole trustee. It was hoped that this would end a complicated legal wrangle concerning the status of the lands, following an investigation from the Charity Commission in 2009.

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