Hazlemere Memorial Hall

Posted on: March 7th, 2016 by admin

The Clerk

Hazlemere Parish Council

Cedar Barn

Barn Lane



HP15 7BQ

30th January 2016


Dear Ali,

Concerns re governance of the Hazlemere Memorial Hall CIO by the present Trustees

At a recent meeting of representatives from 5 of our member clubs, it was unanimously agreed that we would write an open letter to express our serious concerns about the current governance of the above community asset by the present Trustees of the CIO.

Our understanding is that the primary object of the Trust, as set out in Clause 3.1 of the CIO constitution, obliges the Trustees to perform an important duty, namely:

“the provision and maintenance of a community centre for the use of the inhabitants of Hazlemere and the surrounding areas, including use for meetings, lectures, classes and other forms of recreation and leisure-time occupation, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the inhabitants”

We see hardly any evidence that the present Trustees are fulfilling this important responsibility. The 1st floor area is now dominated by a commercial day-care nursery business (Little Cherubs), who has now taken over the former function room completely and parts of the kitchen. These facilities were previously enjoyed by the inhabitants of Hazlemere, under our supervision, up until December 2014, i.e. the primary object was being fulfilled in the period 2010-2014.

The removal of the bar in this room, with the floor area now filled up with Little Cherubs play equipment and furniture, means that it is totally impractical for the inhabitants of Hazlemere to benefit from this wonderful community facility any more. The Trustees may seek to justify that it’s still possible to hire out rooms, but a huge amount of Council money has been spent on accommodating Little Cherubs, thereby ruining this facility for the community with serious consequences for several of our sports clubs (see summary overleaf).

How can the present parish council justify that a community building, built and paid for by the people of Hazlemere (to quote your former Chairman, Brian Mapletoft), is now being monopolised by a commercial business that probably benefits no more than 20 parents who live in Hazlemere?

 We call on the Parish Council to take whatever steps it can to remove the present Trustees for their failure to fulfil their duties towards the intended beneficiaries, as defined in the Trust document.

We also consider that a clear conflict of interest has arisen whereby the present Trustees are failing to act in an independent manner, as they are required to do by the Charities Commission. They are just continuing to pursue the unpopular and thoroughly discredited policies of our former parish council on which all three of them served; policies which have no genuine regard for the primary object of the trust.

In closing this letter, we would like to draw councillors’ attention to some of the serious consequences that these policies have created for the sporting community of Hazlemere:

  • Our Bowls Club has suffered a significant decline in numbers. Over the past 12 months, individuals have defected to other local clubs, mainly because the club is now seriously constrained when playing home matches against other clubs. The reason for this is that they no longer have a suitable or practical facility to entertain opponents afterwards. There is a very real danger that our Bowls Club could be forced to close in 2016.
  • Our adult Football Club has also lost players to other local teams such as Holmer Green and Penn & Tylers Green, all of whom have the benefit of a sports pavilion and a bar. Our football club has been waiting for a response from the Trustees since June 2015 to outline the terms they propose to allow them to run a bar at weekends during the football season. This unnecessary delay suggests to us that the present Trustees have no real desire to let this happen.
  • Our junior Football Club cannot afford to hire the kitchen in the building to provide tea, coffee and hot food on Saturday mornings. Holy Trinity Church no longer benefits from an annual donation of around £400 from the income this used to generate. Club meetings and Christmas party events are no longer held as the venue has lost its ‘social feel’.
  • Our Tennis Club can no longer hold club functions, committee meetings or enjoy post-match teas as they used to do when the building was operated primarily as a sports pavilion, as was intended when the building first opened in 2010.
  • Our Croquet Club has been forced to apply for planning permission to build their own club house facility on Wycombe District Council Land at their own expense.
  • Our fledgling Cricket Club did not play any home matches in the Summer of 2015 since again they did not have a bar facility to use after games.
  • The High Wycombe Columbarian Society has been forced to find another home at Holmer Green Sports Association.

It’s abundantly clear that the only beneficiaries of this important asset are Little Cherubs and that the correct beneficiaries, i.e. the inhabitants of Hazlemere, have been left with just a few crumbs under the Little Cherubs table.

We urge the present council to take the necessary action to recover our Community Asset and seek to replace the present Trustees with individuals willing to fulfil their CIO responsibilities with full and proper regard for their primary object. Should you feel it necessary, we have no objection to this letter being passed onto the present 3 Trustees.

Please note that we will consider writing to the Charities Commission and other relevant bodies if we do not get a satisfactory response from the parish council to the concerns of our 600 plus members.

Yours sincerely,

Russell Thomas

HSA Trustee

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