Charity commission steps in to end long-running dispute over election of village hall’s trustees

Brundall Memorial Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Brundall Memorial Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The Charity Commission has intervened to end a long-running dispute over the election of a village hall's trustees.

Controversy has surrounded Brundall Memorial Hall since May this year when it attempted to elect new members to its committee.

A subsequent investigation by the Charity Commission culminated in new elections being held on Tuesday - attended by more than 100 people.

The five-month dispute started when several members of the public voted against approving the hall's new committee at its AGM.

It followed concerns over a potential conflict of interest caused by having two landowners as trustees.

At a subsequent meeting in June, the village hall's chairman John Philp argued the vote was incorrect as he had forgotten about two postal ballots.

He ruled that the committee had been elected.

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But the decision sparked an investigation by the Charity Commission following a number of complaints.

A spokesman for the regulatory body said: 'The commission looked into the matter and subsequently informed the charity's trustees that the vote had been invalid.

'This was because proxy votes had been included which goes against the charity's governing document.'

In August, the commission instructed the hall, which is a registered charity, to hold another extraordinary general meeting to conduct a valid election.

Norfolk Community Action oversaw the event on Tuesday.

Eight new trustees, including former chairman John Philp, were voted in.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Philp said: 'This has been a small hiccup and we had a similar situation in 2010 under a different administration.'

He said he accepted the commission's ruling, and said he held the second meeting in June after making a 'mistake' with the votes at the AGM in May.

Mr Philp added that the two landowners had not been re-elected.

Brundall Parish Council said in May that a conflict of interest existed if the landowners remained as trustees.

It related to a planning application for new homes and recreation space on land they owned next to the memorial hall.

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