If you wish to contact the Charity then please
the Secretary, David Dobson.
29th March 2020 - Updated with March statement
19th January 2020 - Updated with new statement
20th December 2019 - Deletion of Trustee (Brian Keys)
12th July 2018 - Change of Trustees
30 June 2017 - Sandy Lane site sold
29th March 2017 - Charity number added
Formerly known as 'Allotments held by Steep Parish Council'.
On 1st March 2020 The Steep In Need Charitable Trust, which had been established by the Charity Commission (CC) under a Scheme dated 23 October 2015 to own and manage three former allotment sites for the labouring poor, transferred its assets, liabilities and responsibilities to Steep in Need (Reg. No. 1187284) a newly registered Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee. In due course The Steep In Need Charitable Trust will be de-registered. The Trustees and Objects of Steep In Need are the same as those of The Steep in Need Trust.
The Steep in Need Charity (SIN) was established by the Charity Commission (CC) under a Scheme dated 23 October 2015 to own and manage three former allotment sites for the labouring poor previously owned and managed by Steep Parish Council.
For many years none of the sites had been used for allotments but had remained fallow or let at low rents for grazing or other similar uses. It was thus necessary for the new trustees to agree updated aims and objects with the CC.
The trustees wished to have as wide aims as possible including the ability to help people with social and/or emotional needs etc but who were not necessarily financially poor. This was not agreed by the CC who were adamant that since the original aim of the allotments was relief of poverty the aims of the new charity should be similarly restrictive.
The objects of SIN are "the prevention and relief of poverty for the public benefit among persons who are in need, hardship and distress and are resident in the parish of Steep and adjoining parishes".
The 2015 Scheme gave the trustees the power to sell the sites provided that the proceeds of sale continued to be held on trust for the objects of the charity.
As part of the preparation for the new South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) local plan, the SDNPA gave landowners the opportunity to identify potential sites for housing development. For Steep several sites were identified including the combined Church Road site of which the part owned by SIN comprises 85% and the adjacent property next to the Village Hall and owned by the Village Hall trustees (VHT) comprises 15%.
When the new local plan was published it turned out that Church Road was the only site which met the SDNPA’s criteria and it was allocated for development of between eight and twelve residential units with the requirement that a proportion should be classified as Affordable Housing and not less than 20% should be set aside as publicly accessible open space.
A "preferred" developer has been chosen following an extensive marketing campaign led by experienced surveyors and which included site visits by the trustees. Agreements are currently being negotiated by the respective solicitors.
The SIN trustees are all local people who have been resident in the area for many years. They are aware of past controversy and of the various views about the future of the site and the wish for an effective village centre adjoining the village hall as expressed in the 2012 Steep Parish Plan which was based on extensive public consultation.
The trustees are however bound by clear legal duties which govern the behaviour of all trustees of charities. The trustees must act in the best interests of the charity and must not do anything which reduces the value of the trust assets. It is the wish of the trustees to sell to a developer who will put together a development proposal which will bring as much benefit as possible to the village and which would be acceptable to as many people as possible, but at all times they must also comply with their legal duties as trustees.
The current situation is as follows.
A preferred developer has been chosen after an extensive marketing campaign. Legal negotiations are ongoing but no agreements have yet been signed. The trustees are aware of the wish of many people to know the identity of the preferred developer but such information is commercially sensitive and the best interests of SIN could be adversely affected if the identity is disclosed prematurely. It is however the intention of the trustees to disclose the identity as soon as possible after agreements are concluded.
The new local plan has allocated the site for between eight and twelve residential units. No detailed plans have yet been produced and it is the intention of SIN and the preferred developer that there should be initial public consultation before any detailed design work is initiated. The ultimate decision makers however in respect of the details of any development will be the SDNPA.
The split between affordable and market housing is also not a matter for the developer or for SIN but reflects a ratio laid down by SDNPA.
A minimum of 20% of the site will be public open space and we would expect that Steep Parish Council would assume responsibility for that in the longer term.
One of SIN’s concerns is to try and ensure that the affordable housing element does not as time passes migrate into the private sector. Discussions are in hand with Eames Almshouses Trust (EAT) and the developer that EAT becomes the "provider" and purchaser of the affordable housing from the developer. EAT will require substantial funds to do this which currently they do not have. Subject to the agreement of the CC and the other parties involved SIN is discussing plans to donate to EAT a substantial part of the proceeds of sale to assist EAT financially to enable them to achieve this.
EAT are looking for larger housing units than their existing single-bedroom almshouses further down Church Road so that they can provide better help for local families. Should this plan succeed the affordable element of the development will be protected in perpetuity and the funds from the sale of the land will remain in the village.
SIN will continue to update this information as matters progress. We are planning our first local public consultation in the Spring to look at possible plans, hear thoughts from the community and provide information.
These are available on request to the Trustees.