A consultation has opened about the use of buildings in Calthorpe Park. This consultation is about the future use of the lodge building (on the corner of Speedwell Road) and the play centre at Calthorpe Park (currently used as the Calthorpe Wellbeing Hub by Saheli Hub). It is about the better management of the Calthorpe Park charitable trust.
More information is given below, but you can go straight to the online consultation here:
Birmingham City Council holds a number of assets, generally land and buildings on charitable trusts that were given to it to manage and administer for charitable purposes for the benefit of the public. The Council is therefore the custodian of the assets and bound by the terms of the original trust deed or gift to use the assets for the purposes for which they were originally given. These trust deeds are the governing documents of the charity and they set out the rules for the use and governance of it. As times change, it is sometimes the case that those original purposes become outdated, the assets or parts of them, unsuitable or simply not needed for their original purpose and the best option may be to lease or sell to third parties who are better placed to make full use of them in modern times.
Land, including buildings held on charitable trust can be leased or sold but there are clear requirements in law for doing so and where the land is “designated”, which is the case in respect of Calthorpe Park, special rules apply. There are also specific requirements where the land is a recreation ground.
Some governing documents allow the trustees (Birmingham City Council) to make changes to them, such as amending administrative provisions, and some include an express power of disposal (sale, lease, or transfer). Where no such powers exist, or certain changes or disposals are expressly prohibited then jurisdiction to facilitate changes rests with the Charity Commission.
Where Charity Commission consent to make changes to governing documents is needed this is achieved by a scheme made by the Commission. The Commission makes a scheme when changes to governing documents cannot be made in any other way.
The Charity Commission requires that public consultation is undertaken prior to an application being made to it for the making of a scheme.
Birmingham City Council cannot make any changes to the governing document for Calthorpe Park without a scheme from the Charity Commission.
What is the Consultation About?
Calthorpe Park was the second public park opened in Birmingham in June 1957 on land owned by Lord Calthorpe. It was initially held on licence granted to Birmingham City Council and subsequently transferred freehold subject to the land being made available as a recreation ground. The transfer was a gift and is held on charitable trust. The Council has maintained the land as a park and will continue to do so for the benefit of the people of Birmingham, who are the beneficiaries of the trust.
Within the park, there is are buildings that require more formal arrangements for their continued use, and which are in the best interests of the charity.
- The play centre (well- being hub)
- The Lodge building
The former park keeper’s lodge is vacant and has been for some time. The Council’s intention is to dispose of the lodge by either sale or lease and apply any funds realised to the furtherance of the charity’s purpose, which is the use of the park as a recreation ground.
The play centre no longer operates as a play centre and is currently used as a well- being hub managed by Birmingham City Council. It is the Council’s intention to put in place formal arrangements for the use of the former play centre, which must be charitable and accessible to members of the public and not inhibit the use of the park as a park.
The Council does not have any powers in the governing document of Calthorpe Park to make amendments to the governing document to alter purposes or dispose on any land by way of sale or lease to a third party and will have to apply to the Charity Commission for consent to amend the governing document to give those powers.
This consultation is about the future use of the lodge building and the play centre at Calthorpe Park. It is about the better management of the Calthorpe Park charitable trust.
Birmingham City Council wants to hear from as many people as possible to ensure that all views are considered during the subsequent decision-making process following consultation. We invite submissions from individuals and organisations living or operating in Birmingham. Any members of the public who may be affected by, or those who might have a particular interest in the future use of the lodge and play centre at Calthorpe Park are encouraged to participate.
Our aim is to ensure the maintenance of the buildings in a manner that is sympathetic to the park and the enjoyment of it by the public. It is our intention to enable a positive and sustainable future of the buildings.
Do you agree that an application for consent to lease or sell the lodge building should be made to the Charity Commission?
Do you agree that an application for consent to lease the play centre should be made to the Charity Commission?
Do you agree that the application for consent should include a change to the purposes / objects of the charity if applicable?
Do you have any ideas or suggestions about what the lodge and play centre might be used for?
How to Respond
All responses must be sent through the formal consultation channels set out below.
Online (see the link button above)
Trust and Charities Team
PO Box 15992
Birmingham B2 2UQ
MDX 326401 Birmingham 87
Deadline for Responses is Wednesday 13 April 2022
What Birmingham City Council will do next
The consultation responses alone will not determine what we do. It is the legal responsibility of the trustees (Birmingham City Council) to act in the best interests of the charity. We will:
- Consider all responses sent through this consultation process.
- Decide the best way forward that is in accordance with charity law, and which delivers charitable benefits.
- Publish the consultation outcome on the website.
Use of data
Any personal data provided for the purposes of this consultation will not be shared with any third party including the Charity Commission without your permission. When we send information to the Charity Commission at the end of the consultation period all responses and any personal data contained within them will be anonymised. In the unlikely event that the Charity Commission wishes to contact any individual or organisation as responders to this consultation, Birmingham City Council will contact you to ask for your consent and will only release contact details where your specific consent has been obtained.
We are committed to safeguarding your privacy. For further information please click on the link below.