Mills & Reeve and the Salthouse Trust

Salthouse Trust – Salthouse Fuel & Pasture, an area of almost 95 hectares, 3km north of Holt, was established by an Act of Parliament in 1781 when the lord of the manor left the area in trust to the common righters of Salthouse. It was originally established for use as an open space for the general benefit of the inhabitants of the parish – chiefly to maintain fuel and grazing for the villagers. Since 2000, when it became “open access”, the heath’s main use by the public has been for quiet, informal recreation, but the priority is still for the use of the parishioners of Salthouse and the maintenance, protection and conservation of an important area of heathland.

Mills & Reeve is one of the UK’s 50 largest law firms with clients including businesses, high net worth individuals, education bodies and healthcare organisations. The firm has a reputation as a good place to work, having been named in the Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies To Work For for a record 13 years.

Project summary – At the time of applying to ProHelp, Norfolk County Council was receiving a grant for the conservation and management of the heathland which, from 2017, would transfer to the Salthouse Heath trustees. The situation was complicated by the fact that the body previously known as the Salthouse Health Trust had disbanded due to retirements and so on, and their charitable status removed. Volunteers from the village of Salthouse formed a new group in 2015 with a view to reactivating the Trust.

The organisation asked ProHelp for advice in exploring the various constitutional options, guiding them through the application process and reviewing their governing document and application to the Charity Commission. This work was carried out pro bono by Luke Hurren of Mills & Reeve, the value of which would have been £2,685 plus VAT.

Impact – The project delivered:

  • The legal advice meant that the Trustees were fully briefed on all the constitutional options and in a strong position to make a successful application
  • The establishment of a new organisation will mean they are able to take over the stewardship of the heath from Norfolk County Council
  • The new charity will help safeguard the heath in the long term and open up new sources of funding

“ProHelp gave every support, both morally and physically, and obtained the services of Luke Hurren to advise on the charity structure and look over and approve the new governing document. They also gave advice on filling in the somewhat complicated Charity Commission forms. I cannot praise ProHelp enough for their help in this venture. They are very friendly and approachable, reply to any request immediately and help in every way possible. If they cannot help, they find someone who can!” Judith Campbell, acting clerk to the Trustees

“I was delighted to be able to support the Trustees of the Salthouse Heath in their re-establishment of the Heath as a charity. Mills & Reeve LLP prides itself on supporting the local communities in and around our regional offices and it was pleasure to be able to give legal advice to the Trustees who are themselves volunteers. The Heath is an important rural landmark in North Norfolk and hopefully the work the Trustees are undertaking will ensure this is preserved for the benefit of the local residents for years to come.” Luke Hurren, Mills & Reeve