Regulator backs right of trustees to sell Cornish estate for £16m

The Charity Commission has told trustees they have the right to sell a £16m estate in Cornwall despite concerns from its residents.

The Trevalga estate is run by the Trevalga Estate Trust, which was set up by its late owner Gerald Curgenven who died in 1959, with profits to go Marlborough College, an independent school he set up in Wiltshire.

Trustees are looking to sell the estate, near to Boscastle in Cornwall, for £15.75m despite residents’ concerns that its sale would have been against the wishes of Curgenven.

The Charity Commission was asked by residents to investigate the decision, in particular “about the validity of the sale pointing to their interpretation of the provisions of the charity’s governing documents”.

But the regulator has found that “the trustees demonstrated to the Commission that it is within their powers to sell the Trevalga estate” and that “their decision was made independently and in compliance with their legal duties”.

“This has been a period of great uncertainty and anxiety for the residents of Trevalga and I know that this outcome will come as a further disappointment for those impacted,” said Charity Commission assistant director of casework Tracy Howarth.

“However, having thoroughly assessed the matter, we have concluded this is not a matter in which the Commission can intervene.

“In this instance, we are satisfied that the trustees’ decision-making and the process followed have complied with the law and our guidance. It is therefore right that we have concluded our case.”

The Trevalga estate is set on 1,199 acres with a clifftop house and includes six farms and 17 houses and cottages in its hamlet. It is listed for sale as having “development opportunities”.

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