Menithwood Millenium Green. Charity number: 1075322

Menithwood Millenium Green Trust owns and maintains an area of natural pasture land for the use of the villagers and community surrounding Menithwood. It is intended for informal recreation, play or other leisure-time occupations, a meeting area or a place for community events.

They have a Facebook page and organise work parties and events throughout the year.

Details of the trust here.

‘Pensax Parish Council provides the bins for litter and dog waste at the green, and Malvern Hills District Council collects on a fortnightly basis.

Menith Wood Millenium Green

Pensax Parish Council supports Green Dog Walkers

Green Dog Walkers (GDW) is a non-confrontational, friendly way to help change attitudes about dog fouling across the Malvern Hills District.

It also supports the Public Space Protection Order (see Dog Fouling for information), which enables us to enforce a fixed penalty notice for dog fouling, in compliance with The Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996.

GDW is a national scheme that has previously won the UK Kennel Club Dog Recognition Award, featured at Crufts, and was a finalist for the CIWM Innovation in Waste Management Award.

Take the Green Dog Walker pledge

All Green Dog Walkers will take a pledge to always:

  • Clean up after their dog
  • Carry extra dog waste bags
  • Be happy to be approached to lend a dog waste bag to those without
  • Be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dogs

To become a Green Dog Walker complete the online pledge form.

Menithwood Millennium Green – A Brief History

  1. How it all began

In 1996 Roy Lilley, Chairman of the Menithwood Community Association, read an article in the Daily Telegraph outlining a project sponsored by the then ‘Countryside Agency’ to establish new village greens throughout England to celebrate the forthcoming Millennium.

Having discussed the project with the Community Association, Roy was tasked with enquiring about the possibility of obtaining a suitable site from a landowner who had purchased land on the edge of the village for speculative development.

After it became apparent that the purchase of an appropriate 10-acre piece of land was feasible, and as the scale of the task unfolded, it was decided that a group of villagers be assembled to see through the task. Consequently, eight people volunteered to help, and what was to become the Menithwood Millennium Green Trust was established

During the following three years, considerable negotiation followed between the Trust and the landowner via solicitors and the Countryside Agency concerning the purchase of the land. During this period, a key member of the Trust was Andy Walford, Secretary, who worked tirelessly to bring about the successful creation of the Green. The negotiations were complicated and at times difficult but eventually, the land was purchased and contracts exchanged in November 1999.

At the time of the original purchase, the Trustees were responsible to the Countryside Agency (now Natural England) for ensuring that our Green was created for the enjoyment of young and old alike. An important aspect of such schemes was to carry out as little associated development as possible and to retain and enhance the rural environment.

  1. Involving the village

From the outset, the Community Association and, subsequently the Millennium Green Trustees recognised that the villagers’ opinion, support and agreement were vital. During the three-year period that the Trustees negotiated for the purchase of the land and planned the work to be carried out, there were seven days of exhibitions/public meetings designed to involve the village in the nature and purpose of the new Millennium Green.

In addition to these exhibitions and meetings, questionnaires were distributed in the village to elicit opinions, support, and promises of help in completing the work required to bring the Green to life. The overwhelming opinion of the village, clearly demonstrated during these consultations, was that as little development should be undertaken as possible other than that laid down by the vendor as a condition of purchase. Therefore, the Millennium Green has few outward manifestations of a ‘managed landscape’ other than fencing, gates, hedging, five benches and a commemorative stone and plaque.

Following the press launch of the new Millennium Green in January 2000 the Trustees began sending out Newsletters to keep the village informed of developments. This was felt necessary because of the amount of work that was still needed to be done to produce a Green that reflected the wishes of the villagers. As the planned works were completed the need for regular Newsletters diminished and they were produced as and when they were needed.

The main means of communicating information to the village now is the Annual General Meeting which is publicised centrally (outside the Old Chapel Hall) in the village well in advance. The very necessary maintenance of the Green is carried out by volunteer working parties two or three times per year.

These working parties are also advertised centrally (outside the Old Chapel Hall) and also by notices on each of the six gates onto the Green and are very well supported.

  1. Finance and summary of key donors

In preparing their funding bid to the Countryside Agency (who were offering up to 50% matched funding for approved schemes) the trustees initially estimated acquisition costs to be £40,750 and further creation costs for the various planting and enhancement schemes to be £39,820, the total cost for the scheme was therefore estimated to be £80,820. The Countryside Agency funding was initially offered at 50% of this figure – £40,285.

The trustees, therefore faced the challenge of matching this figure through actual expenditure or securing work free of charge, which could then be claimed as ‘in kind benefits’.

The Trustees invested a great deal of time and effort in attempts to raise funding through appeals for sponsors. Many requests, including one to the Pensax Parish Council, attracted what became a familiar response – organisations were “unable to help at the time”

However, the following companies, groups and individuals sponsored the Green with cash awards:

  • Community Association initial set-up fund £5,034
  • Bass Brewery £5,000
  • Pensax C of E School £1,000
  • Garfield Trust £365
  • Aqua Vitae 21£500
  • Gift from village residents £670

The following companies and agencies supported the Green with donations and by undertaking work free of charge:

  • Worcestershire County Council
  • Morton Fisher Solicitors
  • Donated hedging plants valued at £500
  • Legal Conveyancing valued at 2650
  • Construction work valued at over £12,000
  • PowerGen

To support the acquisition and initial creation costs the villagers of Menithwood offered £12,280 which was held as loans and repaid over the first 3 yrs of the life of the Green.

In late 2001 the Trustees were invited by Worcestershire County Council to apply for funding as part of the Section 39 Agreement – Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This agreement commits the Trustees to ‘conserve and enhance the natural beauty or amenity of the land’. In return for this commitment, the Trust received £4950 to be used to meet the agreed commitment. The Section 39 Agreement had strict conditions as to how the land could be managed and remained in force for ten years from the signing of the Agreement (until January 2012). See Appendix A.

By 2003 the Trust had completed its planned expenditure on major creation works and entered into the current maintenance regime undertaken by volunteers on Working Party Days. Annual financial activity is very small with the major expenditure being Indemnity Insurance (2230.66 p.a. in 2017/18). Income comes in the form of proceeds from the annual hay crop, interest from the deposit account, occasional sale of holly in November, small donations from individuals and wayleave from Central Networks for electricity cables across the Green.

This income covers the current expenditure leaving the balance on deposit for contingencies.

  1. The Millennium Celebrations

In November 1999, the trustees applied for a grant from the Countryside Agency towards the cost of organising a Millennium Festival on the newly acquired Green. This was seen to be a fitting celebration both for the Millennium and the acquisition of the Green for and by the village. A small working group of villagers planned and organised the event which was to be held on Saturday 24* June 2000. The first Millennium Green Newsletter sent to villagers in January 2000 advertised the celebration, outlined planned events and asked for volunteer helpers.

The celebration was a great success and attracted villagers, family, friends, and neighbours from the immediate area. Events included kite flying, medieval battle enactments, a bar, fairground games and raffles. The day was concluded by a late evening firework display which was a fitting end to a successful celebration.

In July 2010 the 10-year anniversary of the formation of the Green was held in partnership with the Community Association. This event was very successful and had considerable support in the local community.

  1. Key aspects of the Trust Deed

The legal background – Millennium Greens were set up to last forever. To achieve this permanence, under UK law a charitable trust must be created to hold and manage the Green. Using a Trust helps ensure that the law so far as it can, will protect the land for the benefit of future generations. In inviting applications for funding from the Millennium Commission, the Countryside Commission required the Millennium Green Trust to use a model Trust Deed.

The established Trust must be charitable because:

  • It emphasises that the Millennium Green is for the benefit of the whole community not just specific interest groups
It strengthens legal controls over future development of disposal of the land
  • It protects the Green if the Trust should fail for any reason

The Menithwood Millennium Green Trust was set up in February 1999. It is administered by trustees who belong to and represent a cross section of the local community. The Trust was registered as charity No 1075322 in March 1999. The site deeds were registered with the Official Custodian of Charities in May 2002 ensuring that the land remains protected as a village green in perpetuity. In addition, the Trustees are bound by certain constraints in the way they maintain the Green, the conditions under which they operate can be seen in Appendix A. Currently (as at 01/11/2018) there are 9 Trustees and the quorum for transacting business is 3. The full version of the Trust Deed is held by the Secretary.

  1. Vision for the future

 The Trustees are very aware that the wishes of the villagers of Menithwood must be met. As a consequence, the Green is maintained with minimal disturbance and interference with the natural cycle. At each Annual General Meeting, the village is given the opportunity to raise matters of concern and put forward suggestions. To date no significant changes in how the green is managed have been requested but Trustees will continue to take soundings to ensure villagers’ wishes are taken into account.

The regime of working parties will be maintained to ensure that the Green is managed within the spirit of Natural England advice (formerly Countryside Commission) and Section 39 Agreement even though it has now ceased to apply having been time-limited. These working parties not only provide labour to maintain the Green they also provide a valuable opportunity for neighbours to meet and chat while working.

The Trustees have identified a number of tasks that may need to be undertaken in the near future including clearing weeds from the pond and possible enlargement, planting additional trees (native species) in the small coppice section adjacent to the pond.

The Trustees are obviously charged with ensuring that the Trust is financially viable and is able to carry out its declared role and responsibilities. Trustees regularly review the financial status of the Trust to satisfy themselves that sufficient funds exist for the foreseeable future to meet any possible demand.

  1. Conclusion

The Trustees are working on behalf of the community to carry out their responsibilities as set out in the Trust Deed. These responsibilities ensure that the Green is kept in perpetuity for the residents of Menithwood and the locality and it is appropriate that the aims embodied in the Trust Deed are set out as the final part of this commentary:

Statement of Aims

The Millennium Green is to:

  • Make a substantial contribution to the life of the whole community
  • Be able to be enjoyed by people of all ages and physical abilities
  • Be open and evident to visitors to the locality as well as inhabitants

  • Be an attractive place for people to take the air and exercise, meet others and pursue leisure activities and pastimes consistent with shared enjoyment of the whole of the land Include an area suitable for community events and celebrations
  • Include significant ‘natural’ areas where people can enjoy nature and wildlife at first hand
  • Make a positive contribution to the local environment and respect the established character of the area Remain safely and conveniently accessible from inhabitant’s homes

Appendix A

External constraints on activities

  • The original application for funding from the Countryside Commission for setting up the Green had to meet the following criteria:
  • The site must be held by the community on a permanent basis
  • There is public support for the proposal which will make a major contribution to the life of the
  • The site will be available for everyone
  • There will be safe and convenient access
  • There are viable and convincing management proposals
  • The site should be accessible to people with disabilities
  • The site will include natural areas for wildlife
  • The site will provide informal recreational opportunities for all
  • Local character, distinctiveness and visual quality will be retained

The Section 39 Agreement mentioned in Section 3 on page 2 placed a significant number of restrictions on how the Green can be managed. The following list of prohibited activities is taken directly from the Agreement. Although the Agreement period (10 years) has expired the Trust uses the list as a guide for maintenance and planning:

  • Cultivation includes ploughing, rotovation, harrowing and reseeding or any other operations that will disturb the sward.
  • Application of artificial fertilisers or chemical sprays.
Application of pesticides, including herbicides (weed killers).
Burning of any vegetation.
  • The disturbance or removal of any tree, shrub, turf or plant, excluding plants referred to as noxious weeds under the Weeds Act.
  • The planting of any trees, shrubs, turf, or other plants, except planting a new hedge along the line of an original hedge and planting native trees and shrubs in the corners of the field.
  • The infilling of the pond.
The construction of any roads or tracks, banks or ditches, or cables or pipelines.
The storage of materials.
The erection of any permanent or temporary structures.
  • The use of vehicles likely to damage or disturb animals or plants.

The full list of conditions, including management of the grassland, hedges and pond, can be seen in the definitive Section 39 Agreement held by the Secretary.

In addition to the above, the Trustees also concluded that when considering Health and Safety considerations, horses and unauthorised motor vehicles would not be allowed on the Millennium Green.

Menithwood Millennium Green Trust

April 2008 (RD)

Updated March 2019 (RD)