A ROW has broken out between Whitehill Town Council and the Deadwater Valley Trust over management of the Bordon Inclosure and the Deadwater Valley Nature Reserve.

The trust – a charity with paid staff – is paid more than £83,000 a year by the council for the work but the council has decided to take over the role at the end of March 2022.

At an ‘extraordinary executive committee’ meeting on September 30, councillors agreed to write to the trust to give it six months’ notice of the council’s intention to terminate the inclosure contract, and to give notice of the council’s intention to not renew the reserve contract when it expires in March 2022.

The minutes of the meeting were subsequently posted on Facebook by a member of the public, which prompted the council to issue a statement on its own Facebook page.

It thanked the trust for its work and wished the trustees and staff “all the best”. But green spaces sub-committee chair Cllr Tina Strickland said it was “a vision for the council to manage town council land” while council leader Cllr Andy Tree said: “We will not shy away from making important decisions to change how our council has historically operated.”

After further public comment the trust claimed the council had ended the agreements “abruptly and without consultation”.

In a lengthy statement, it added: “At no time have Deadwater Valley Trust been consulted on the plans of Whitehill Town Council with regard to this proposal.

“To say that we are devastated and shocked by the decision of Whitehill Town Council would be an understatement.”

The trust later posted on Facebook that “a line of dialogue” had been opened between the trust’s trustees and the council, adding: “We are hopeful that this leads to a clearer understanding of the decision and situation we all find ourselves in.”

Speaking to the Herald, Cllr Tree said: “We are currently speaking to Deadwater Valley Trust trustees in good faith for the ultimate benefit of residents. It would be unfair of me to make any further statement whilst such discussions are going on.”

He added that the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 would protect the jobs of trust staff working on council land.