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Harlow Council issue detailed statement over Carly Burd and the Fold Croft allotment

Communities / Sat 9th Mar 2024 at 08:06am

HARLOW Council has issued a statement detailing their role in trying to help local resident Carly Burd develop an allotment in the Fold Croft area of Harlow.

With much being written about what Harlow Council has or hasn’t done, we invited them to detail their role going back to 2022.

Councillor Nicky Purse, the portfolio holder for Sustainability and Environment, has provided the following account of events:

“Since September 2022, we have been working with Ms. Burd to ensure that she meets the legal requirements for a tenancy agreement under the Allotment Act. This process has been lengthy and has involved numerous requests for documentation and many hours from our officers.

After the Christmas holidays, upon the return of our officers, we discovered that Ms. Burd had changed her company from a limited company to a Community Interest Company (CIC). In February 2023, Ms. Burd received support from her supporters, HTS, and Plan B in clearing the land, planting crops, and seeking legal advice and guidance to become a charity or CIC.

Unfortunately, according to the Allotment Act, a limited company cannot hold a tenancy for an allotment. Ms. Burd was informed of this on April 28th, after we discovered that she had registered her company as a limited company on April 24th. We also informed Ms. Burd that she would now be subject to tax, and no changes were made to the company until December 15th, 2023.

“During that time, the council conducted a soil sample to test for high levels of salt. The results showed that there were no harmful levels of salt, and the levels were within the range typically found in soil, posing no harm to wildlife or plants.

YH understands that the soil sample was taken in April 2023.

“Our last meeting with Ms. Burd took place in July 2023, as there was no reason to meet without the relevant documentation. In October, we requested that Ms. Burd refrain from using the land for interviews with the media and volunteers, as this posed a risk to the council due to her lack of public liability insurance, which was one of the required documents.

We also requested that Ms. Burd remove any tools or belongings from the site, as there is no lockable shed, and they can be seen by the public. Our intention was to secure the site for the winter months and reconvene with the council in the new year once all the necessary documentation was obtained.

To facilitate the process, the council appointed an independent solicitor to engage with Ms. Burd’s solicitor and draft the tenancy agreement. This was done after we received information about the registration of the CIC. The documents have this week been sent to Ms. Burd’s solicitors.

“Lastly, it is important to note that the locks at the site were changed without the involvement of the council or HTS. At no point did we lock Ms. Burd out of the allotment”.

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YH contacted Whiskers Solicitors on Monday March 4th. They have yet to respond.

All the news items in relation to this can be found on the link below.

https://yourharlow.com/?s=Carly+Burd

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22 Comments for Harlow Council issue detailed statement over Carly Burd and the Fold Croft allotment:

Nostradamus
2024-03-09 08:35:49

Wouldn't it be simpler if The Council set up the allotment and rented/ licenced/ leased it to Carly as a community project so she and her supporters could run the allotments as a charity or Community Interest Company instead of wasting time and money on Solicitors? This spat looks like incompetence.

Fi
2024-03-09 09:46:15

Wouldn’t it be simpler if just Carly completed the documentation requested?

Anna
2024-03-09 10:49:13

She isn't as nice and kind as people think she is. Either sort the documents out or give the money back that people put in out of their own pockets . Simple!

New town dreaming
2024-03-09 11:32:34

It reads as though she has completed the documents. Look at the dates detailed. While she was operating as a limited company, she received help from HTS, Plan B and Harlow Council. It’s now a CIC, which seems to be what she needed to do, and has closed.

John
2024-03-09 11:50:21

Is this the woman who claimed that someone had polluted the soil with salt and subsequently received £250k in public donations? If I read this correctly the council have since proven that soil is not polluted with salt. What happens now?

New town dreaming
2024-03-09 12:05:55

When did the salt poisoning take place? How long does it take soil to recover from salt poisoning? Why was it only tested in December?

Karlie
2024-03-09 12:10:06

To provide clarity regarding the timeline mentioned in the statement: Before the alleged salting incident, HTS and Plan B offered advice and guidance in February. Following that, Carly made her decision to establish a limited company. Despite the council's sincere efforts to advise her, they came to know about this decision later. It's like the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."

Karlie
2024-03-09 12:17:53

It is likely that the salt tests were conducted while the investigations were underway to identify the culprits during the event.

New town dreaming
2024-03-09 12:43:26

It reads that the salt tests were done in December.

Bridge
2024-03-09 13:20:08

* September 2022 Carly was given access to the allotment and assistance from Harlow Council and HTS to clear the land. This seems to have been a goodwill gesture offered to her as an individual, on the basis that she would complete the necessary documentation, registrations etc. At the time Carly publicly stated that she was mid process of becoming a registered charity. * February 2023 the Council assisted in clearance of the land and advised Carly of the requirements regarding registering as a C.I.C. or charity. * The alleged salting incident takes place around 11th April 2023, but the Council found no evidence of harmful salt contamination when they completed soil sampling thereafter. * April 28th 2023 the Council informed Carly that she would have to at least register as a C.I.C. to be eligible for a contract for the Council * The Council subsequently discovered that she had in fact registered as a Ltd company on 24th April 2023 (not eligible for an allotment contract) * April to October 2023 the Council repeatedly requested the necessary registrations and documentation from Carly, which was not forthcoming. * October 23 the Council informed Carly that she could no longer access the land and would need to remove her tools, as she had failed to register as a Charity or C.I.C. and had not provided the necessary documentation, including the statutory public liability insurance. * January 2024 they were made aware that Carly had finally registered as a C.I.C. (a process that should have taken a few days) and have prepared and forwarded the contract to Carly (her solicitor) * The Council did not change the locks on the allotment - which indicates that someone else did so without their permission, possibly Carly herself. It would seem to me that this farce has been caused by Carly herself, not the Council. They seem to have had a great deal of patience and assisted her enormously. There does come a point when, after a year of inaction by Carly, they have to draw the line

Kizzy
2024-03-09 14:40:43

This is a very interesting statement with significant information regarding some of the claims Ms Burd has previously made. She has incited her followers to harass and publicly insult the Council for reasons that were not legitimate. It would seem that Ms Burd had previously changed the locks and the Council, in order to gain access to THEIR land in October, had to change them. Contrary to Ms Burd’s statement that the locks were changed to ‘lock her out’ of the allotment, it was necessary so that they could regain access to the site. Ms Burd clearly never sought permission to change the locks, even though she had no legal right to be on the land and was only given access because of the goodwill of the Council. It would seem that they have tried to advise her throughout but, true to form, she has chosen to ignore their good advice. The fact that she has publicly berated and insulted the Council and encouraged her followers to do the same is disgusting. I do wonder how there can be any working relationship between the parties in the future, the relationship has clearly broken down because of Ms Burd’s abysmal behaviour and attitude. The weeping appeals that originally prompted the caring members of the public to donate over quarter of a million £ to the project, seem to be based on a non-event; the soil was not contaminated by the alleged salting by an unknown person. Bearing in mind that Burd has stated that she will no longer be providing food parcels to those in need, one would assume that she will advise us how she is going to meet the terms of her fundraising appeal and provide food to those in need (who may well not be able to travel to allotments and plant crops etc). One would also assume that she will now no longer be investing in the school kitchen gardens project, as she apparently decided on this because the council were refusing to deal with her (again, clearly this was incorrect information, they were in the process of preparing the contract). It would seem that Ms Burd’s narrative always makes her the victim and someone else the enemy - far from the truth!

Sue
2024-03-09 14:42:34

If Carly has closed down as she has stated Maybe it would be nice for the donated money to be forwarded to the many local charities that are supporting Harlow people and struggling to fundraise too And there is already a fantastic community farm allotments in foldcroft that has huge number of volunteers, supports the community and very well setup

Ken Horlaw
2024-03-09 14:46:44

Well done Your Harlow for continuing to bring us updates on this story. You should get a Pulitzer prize for your work. Thank you

Kizzy
2024-03-09 15:45:15

I concur Ken Horlaw. I imagine, like the Council, YourHarlow has been harassed and vilified by Ms Burd and her supporters. I am grateful to them for their investigative reporting on this and hope they continue until we learn the full truth. Unfortunately, it is dubious cases such as this that make the public ever more cautious about donating to these so called good causes.

John
2024-03-09 18:25:58

Where is the money that was donated?

TURKEY
2024-03-09 19:27:48

Yes John , sounds fishy

New town dreaming
2024-03-09 20:09:34

Completely agree Sue - I’ve always wondered why people have championed this so much, as though it’s not already happening at Herts and Essex Community Farm.

keeley stringer
2024-03-09 22:59:07

disgraceful 😳

A fellow citizen
2024-03-10 00:20:49

Here is a lady who was trying to help her fellow citizens but who now seems to be in a situation which has gone pearshaped. Carly, I may be able to help, contact me through YH if you want

Lady Shot
2024-03-10 06:42:53

No dangerously high levels of salt in the soil? Presume this means that she’ll be giving back the donations that were made?

Bee
2024-03-10 11:04:29

From day one I’d thought the police\DWP should have been interested in this - there needs to be an investigation into where the donations have gone etc

Refund
2024-03-10 14:28:14

Please contact Go Fund Me for a full refund before 12/04/24. Don't let her get away with this scam, take the money back.