The following letter was from the Ernest Cook Trust to the Chair of The Eastleach Parish Council in response to questions raised about the sale of 52 Eastleach.
Unfortunately looks like we will be loosing an affordable rental property in the village which a number of villagers have expressed an interest in.
This is very sad as it will mean the loss of another small affordable dwelling in the village, which will probably be redeveloped into a larger residence.
Sorry for the short delay in replying to you. However, this has allowed us to take instruction from our Trustees.
Thank you for coming into the office on Wednesday 25 September with Councillor Hann. I am pleased we were able to discuss the issues surrounding the potential sale of 52 Eastleach, the strength of feeling in the community and the serious concerns raised.
I am sure that you recognise that the sole charitable object of The Ernest Cook Trust is education. Clearly Trustees have the right to review the Trust’s assets in line with our charitable aims and objectives in order to make decisions. With that in mind, it is imperative that we manage our estates with a very long term perspective and maximise their ‘value’ in the broadest sense: educationally, economically, socially and environmentally, taking a professional judgement on how best to assess this. Trustees have a duty under charities’ legislation to fully explore opportunities available to the Trust and this has been the case in considering an offer that was made to the Trust for the purchase of 52 Eastleach.
As with any professionally managed estate, land or assets may be acquired and disposed of as suitable opportunities arise in order to improve the Trust’s holdings and subsequently fulfil its charitable aims. A sale of this kind will raise capital that we will reinvest into our significant residential portfolio and will ultimately contribute to our charitable output.
We have some 150 residential properties within our let portfolio across all of our Estates, and we actively encourage lettings to local people and families were possible. Many tenants in ECT properties on the Hatherop Estate have been there for a considerable number of years, with an average length of tenancy of just over 20 years. This is not uncommon across ECT Estates and we are proud to sustain a professional and supportive relationship with all our tenants.
The potential sale of 52 Eastleach does not have any bearing on other properties in the village, nor on the wider Hatherop Estate, and there are currently no other planned sales in the village. However, considering the wider interest that the sale of 52 Eastleach appears to have generated in the immediate community,
It is anticipated that the land retained by ECT adjacent to 52 Eastleach could be suitable in the longer term for the potential development of well-designed, energy efficient housing.
Finally, I will add that we value the close working relationship we have with the Parish Council and, as responsible landowners, remain committed to our ongoing support for the community in day to day matters.
Please feel free to share the contents of this letter with interested parishioners.
Michael Birnie MRICS FAAV