Good News for Hatherleigh Potboilers by Don Cudmore
Following a refusal by Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee (HMMC) in February 2016 to supply a list of Qualifying Potboilers addresses because of the Data Protection Act, it was decided to seek advice.
We soon discovered that the 98 page document was in fact a "Public Document" and a copy was obtained from Devon County Council. This can now be viewed here, also here is a 1 page copy of the Constitution of HMMC.
Residents should check to see if their house is listed because if it is they are entitled to receive a "Token Payment" each December which currently stands at £60 per year. The requirements of HMMC necessitate that the resident must have occupied the property for at least a year commencing in November. If in doubt please contact the HMMC, You will also note the number of Sheep or Cattle that you can graze on the moor, because of the set aside scheme only 600 sheep and less than 100 Cattle were allowed to graze on the moor last year. Potboilers pay a voluntary amount to graze their stock on the moor which last year was 10p per week for a sheep and 2 Lambs and 75p per week for each Cattle.
Only 6 Potboilers grazed their animals there last year, and as a result of a HMMC meeting in October 2016 they voted to entitle these Potboilers, 5 of which are on the HMMC various sums of money dependant on their allocation. 2 received over £4,500, 1 almost £3,500. 1 £1.071, another £736 and the non committee member £254.
The Chairman of HMMC made mention of new rules from DEFRA which only allowed graziers to claim the Single Farm Payment (SFP) at their AGM last year. What he did not mention was the fact that this amounted to £29,026.94p of which half will go to the 6 Potboiler Graziers and that he had the biggest entitlement. Potboiler graziers have in the past received a smaller amounts as "part return" from the S.F.P. No information about the Workings (including those of a financial nature,) of Hatherleigh Moor have ever been circulated directly to the POTBOILERS for at least 30 years to my knowledge, and certainly they were not informed about this matter or allowed to vote on the proposal.
A number of Potboilers are seeking TRANSPARENCY regarding the administration of HMMC.
The committee have refused several written and one verbal request for a meeting with the Chairman/Secretary/Treasurer and they have failed to respond to the various matters raised. A full report to include all correspondence to and from the committee is in the process of preparation and will be available in due course. In order that Potboilers be informed of meetings, vacancies on the committee and any important matters, including a detailed financial report, please email your name and address and telephone number to email@example.com Your information will only be used for Potboiler matters.
It is well recorded that Hatheiegh Moor was given to the "POOR" i.e. the POTBOILERS who boiled their pots from the hearth. The allocation of RIGHTS TO THE MOOR clearly shows that all Potboilers were not treated equally. And indeed the biggest allocations were given to the WEALTHY, hence if they have grazed animals on the moor they are the biggest beneficiaries because they are also entitled to the £60 per year. Two members of the committee receive an honorarium.
At the end of the last financial year the Total amount in the POTBOILER account was £206, 852.00. The committee have not yet sought permission/ a mandate from the Potboilers to give away many thousands of pounds to non POTBOILER causes.
On a personal level I have no objections whatsoever to Potboilers money being given to the good causes in Hatherleigh but I nor the HMMC can speak for the rest of the Potboilers without first asking them.
You will see that the present CONSTITUTION does not permit this. The HMMC were then asked to forward a copy of the standing orders. The reply from the HMMC states there are no standing orders, all other changes, and there are few, are recorded in the Minutes.
In light of the letter last month which hailed criticism on the Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee (HMMC) I would like to state my support and appreciation for the HMMC and wish it to be known with a few facts that have been missed amongst the flurry of pound signs.
1. The Constitution does not mention at all that if potboilers don’t graze animals or collect their gorse for fuel that they should be entitled to remuneration of any kind.
2. The introduction of money came about through government schemes to support farmers. If you’re not a registered farmer you’re not entitled to claim diddly squat.
3. Only ‘active’ farmers can submit claims for government money for grazing animals on common land. Information is easily available on the internet.
4. Whatever medieval rights were once held for potboilers the legislation in the 21st century means that only 'active' registered farmers are qualified to claim on common land.
5. If any potboiler wishes to qualify for this entitlement they are perfectly within their rights to register as a farmer, buy stock and graze a herd on the moor - Defra rules withstanding.
6. I understand that the moor farmers could claim far more for themselves if they claimed individually, but they choose not to, instead choosing to pool the money to maximise the claim and bring benefit for the upkeeping of the moor into the future.
With government cutbacks and reduction in services who knows what the future holds and with a healthy pot of money Hatherleigh's organisations can feel assured that if the HMMC continues to operate as it has done in the past then we should count ourselves fortunate.
Without these handful of 'active farmers' entitled to claim money and who then pass on some of their entitlement to support local causes, Hatherleigh's many many groups and organisations would not have received such helpful donations which in turn the community as a whole has benefited from. A fact that the person/s involved (in what seems to be a campaign of trying to discredit the HMMC) is repeatedly missing.
Thank you Moor Management Committee.
Clare Tyson, Non Potboiling, non farming Mayor of Hatherleigh
Don Cudmore Replies
Thank you to Lady Mayor, Claire Tyson, for her response to concerns raised about HMMC
First and foremost, I am saddened to have to refute the allegation that I or any other concerned Potboiler wishes to discredit either the HMMC, as an organisation, or any individual member.
We are NOT critical of the committee itself, however are very concerned about the complete lack of communication – no minutes of meetings, no accounts, audited or otherwise are made available to the Potboilers who the land was handed back to in 1951
Of course Hatherleigh, as a town, we have benefited from the helpful donations from HMMC, the issue here though is that the Potboilers have never been consulted about which organisations receive these funds, or indeed how much they will gain.
No professional, law abiding organisation could survive being run as HMMC is. Individual committee members need to declare conflicts of interest, they should also abstain from voting in matters they hold an interest in. Potboilers have the right to be fully informed, in a timely manner of AGM’s, or extra-ordinary meetings.
Minutes of such meetings should be in the public domain, either via Hatherleigh.net, for example, or copies sent via mail/email
Each position in the committee should have a set tenure and an explanation of how to nominate other individuals as each tenure ends.
Surely the Lady Mayor herself, will have a good understanding of how organisations are run by looking at the good example Hatherleigh Town Council sets? I believe it is naïve of the Lady Mayor to suggest the HMMC should be allowed to continue to run as it has been, in a very undemocratic way.
Perhaps The Lady Mayor could have benefited from the experience of a former Lady Mayor of Hatherleigh Town Council, who is also a committee member of HMMC. As reported in the Parish Pump, this lady attended the Parish Pump AGM where she called for more transparency in their accounting. This was immediately complied with. This is exactly what we, the Potboilers and beneficiaries of Hatherleigh Moor, are seeking.
To directly address the points the Lady Mayor raised:
1: you are quite correct that the constitution itself does not set out the details of Potboiler remuneration or indeed any other financial donations. This should be set out by the HMMC in the Standing Orders, however we have been informed that there are no Standing Orders, despite the fact that they were directed in the constitution -see item (b)
2:Potboilers have received remuneration yearly, on Potboiler Day in November/December. This has been a token gesture, which currently stands at £60 per year. So again the Lady Mayor isn’t quite correct in her understanding of the running of HMMC. Yes there are additional government funds which can be applied for by eligible farmers and indeed they do claim.
3: As active farmers, those Potboiler graziers have claimed funds through said government schemes and until recent years returned 90% of this money to the Potboiler purse. In October 2016, they voted to amend this and reduced the amount returned to Potboiler account to 50%
4: With all due respect to the Lady Mayor, the only thing medieval is the archaic way in which HMMC is run. From the 1965 Commons Registration Act, it clearly states that Hatherleigh Moor be returned to the POTBOILERS and following from that any money generated should go into the Potboiler account.
Moor Management Committee
Following the full page spread of criticism of the Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee published in the September issue of the Parish Pump and on hatherleigh.net, the moor management committee considered it necessary to respond. Following a unanimous vote of confidence passed in the administration of the committee at the well attended AGM held last November, we the committee are confident that the management of the moor, together with the well being of the Potboilers, is being conducted in a right and proper manner. We must point out that there are numerous inaccuracies in the letter and in the transcribed list of potboilers on the internet, together with other false information. This will be addressed at the forthcoming AGM to be held in November, of which the date will be advised in next month’s Parish Pump. In conclusion we must point out that the e mail address included in the letter is in NO WAY linked to the Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee.
Ian G.Trenaman Chairman
Mrs D. Laing-Trengove Lord of the Manor
Geoffrey J.Cleverdon CBE Honorary Secretary and Treasurer
Don Cudmore writes
Response to the item by Mr Ian Trenaman,Ms D. Lang -Tregrove and Mr G Cleverdon.
Until last year very few if any attended the AGM of HMMC. You will recall that we had recently alerted between 80 and 100 possible Potboilers that they were not in receipt of the yearly Token Payment.
This generated an interest and an estimated 30 people attended the HMMC AGM.Several of those attending have been associated with organisations etc who have been recipients of grants from HMMC. You can understand that they would be happy to heap praise on the committee
It was difficult to reproduce an easy to read guide of Potboiler houses from the 98 page document and the editor indicated that there may be errors. The 98 page document has now been professionally printed and it is hoped that it will be online shortly. Our original document can be viewed by arrangement..
We invite the authors of the above item to list any falsehoods on this medium or by accepting another invitation to a private meeting to sort this matter out like should have been done in the first place. We have repeatedly said that we have no wish to embarrass these members nor anyone on the committee..
In their item they have again failed to respond to the various matters raised in my item in September's Parish Pump.
Now that the administration of Hatherleigh Moor is in the public domain I would like HMMC to answer the following questions.
1. Who were the members apart from Mr G. Cleverdon who were on the committee when the allocations were made and on what basis were they made.
I note in an article in the North Devon Journal some years ago by Mr Cleverdon's son Steven entitled. " The Call of the Flock " that his grandfather Percy was the first Chairman. This is an very interesting story.
2. In what capacity does the committee operate.
(A) is it a Charity and if so the Charity No Please.
(B) is it a Business and if so are they listed with Company House.
(C) Is it an unincorporated association
(D) Are they a partnership
(E) Are they a company.
(F) Are they running as a not for profit organisation.
So again publically I call on Mr Cleverdon and Mr Trenaman to meet with myself and one other to discuss our concerns. It will be an amenable meeting and I feel quite confident that we can resolve all matter regarding transparency in the running og the H.M.M.C.
The Potboiler Chronicles.
On behalf of all those individuals who, like myself are tired of being subjected to the constant stream of public accusation and personal grievance – Please STOP!
To quote American military terminology, the ‘Collateral damage’ resulting in such an open display of complaint and criticism is both unnecessary and has far-reaching implications which I, and others feel may not have been considered. Consider those involved and their nearest and dearest, do you not think that the worry, stress and concern resulting in such convoluted dialogue month after month may be having adverse effects on their health or day to day wellbeing?
Grandparents, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbours, colleagues and potential new acquaintances living in Hatherleigh all have access to the Parish Pump which used to be a useful and delightful little read, reflecting our wonderfully active small town.
Is the Parish Pump the correct forum in which to present such animosity? Please be considerate and review your approach towards such matters.
To quote A Parish pump favourite – ‘Our Prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help then at least don’t hurt them’. Dalai Lama.
Netty H. Nov 2017.
Thank you Netty
for your thoughtful letter, most of which I agree with.
Your quote from the Dalai Lama was excellent.
From the onset of this matter with the HMMC we have sought not to embarrass the committee but their continued refusal to answer written questions raised, led us to bring the matter to the notice of Potboilers in the Parish Pump.
The HMMC are there to represent the 290 or so Potboilers who reside in Registered Potboilers’ houses and to properly manage the finances in the Potboilers’ Account so I would ask you to examine again our previous items in the Parish Pump.
This matter can easily be resolved by Mr Cleverdon and the Chairman Ian Trenaman agreeing to meet us, who on several occasions have refused to do. What have they to hide?
We all want to live a quiet life and to be on good terms with those around us. As someone who was born at Higher Street, Hatherleigh in 1939 I know many of the members of HMMC and they know that I have nothing personal against any of them.
I do hope that they will take note of your item in Decembers Parish Pump.
Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee
Being an avant reader of the Parish Pump I was most interested to read that Donald Cudmore was exploring the workings of the above committee which has been a very secret society in my 40 years of working in Hatherleigh. The fact that Donald had to go to Devon County Council to glean any useful information, as to the constitution and foundation of this Committee gives cause for concern.
All other organisation in the town such as the Town Council, Rotary Club, Cricket Club are fully open with their membership, accounts and actions. To conduct business in secret behind closed doors must lead to suspicion in the community!
Whilst farmers grazing the moor should be represented on the committee, reading the Pump it seems that the majority of the committee are graziers and not necessarily the beneficiaries,
Recent government incentives mean that those grazing the moor receive thousands of pounds in government aid and yet still pay 10p for a double couple (3 and a third pence per sheep) whilst the real commercial world pays 40/50p per head.
We have enough concern with proposed yellow lines potentially closing our remaining shops and the market closing. To allow this matter to fester like the church steeple would be a shame. If the moor management could be more open and Donald retreat we could all move on to tackle the real concern lack of employment in Hatherleigh.
P.G.Pyle Ex Town Mayor, Hatherleigh property owner but non recipient