Carly Burd turns down Harlow Council’s final offer to lease out Canon Gate allotment

News / Sun 28th Apr 2024 at 03:07pm

HARLOW resident Carly Burd has rejected the final offer of by Harlow Council to lease out an allotment in Canon Gate.

A few weeks ago, Harlow Council issued a statement indicating that they would make a final offer to Ms Burd regarding the allotment.

What had begun in 2023 as a promising partnership between Ms Burd and Harlow Council under the glare of the world’s media, seems to have descended into acrimony and rancour.

A Harlow Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that discussions regarding the use of Canon Gate Allotment have now concluded and Ms Burd has decided not to proceed with the council’s proposed lease.

“It is unfortunate that a resolution could not be reached however, we wish Ms Burd all the best in her future endeavours.”

Meanwhile, Ms Burd has continued her series of cheque presentations with monies from the GoFundMe Page she set up that raised over £254,000.

Two weeks ago, Ms Burd handed over, £7,692 to four organisations: Harlow Foodbank, The Bounty Club, Bridgets Cafe and Harlow Rock School.

More recently, Ms Burd visited another four organisations: Phoenix Live, Herts Meals, Roots to Well Being and Roots Pod Academy.

One of the questions people have asked is whether the money would be going to deal with food poverty, which was, in essence, the core principle of the GoFundMe Page.

We spoke to Jacqueline Daniels, who said she was speaking on behalf of her daughter, Jenna Thorpe who runs Herts Meals, from her base at the Latton Bush Centre.

Herts Meals describe their mission is “to provide wholesome, high quality hot meals freshly prepared daily with only the finest ingredients at highly competitive prices”. 

She wasn’t able to confirm, at this point, how the £7,692 would be spent. We indicated that we would follow up (as with all the organisations) during the summer.

Roots Pod Academy were also recipients of the cash boost. Roots Pod Academy are based in Potter Street and run by Althea Blake. The busy entrepreneur also runs Althea Rose Limited and Shekinah Roots Limited.

We understand that on the back of the donation, Roots Pod Academy will be running a ‘Building Your Brand & Business’ workshop on May 29th and 30th at Arise Innovation Hubs off London Road in Harlow.

There may be those, (including those who donated as part of the £254,000 GoFundMe Page) who may question why their money has gone to music groups, build your brand seminars, meals on wheels, to name just a few?

Why not allotments? One of the ironies appears to be that the funding came from an allotment-based initiative. However, it appears that not a single allotment organisation in Harlow has accepted one of the cheques.

Last week, we reported that the body which oversees the Potter Street and Church Langley allotments decided to reject the offer.

We spoke to another allotment group, which did not want to be named, which also felt that they would also politely reject the offer.

Then we spoke to another allotment group. Last year, Ms Burd was in discussions with First Avenue Allotments (off Felmongers) with a view to help with making physical access to the allotments easier.

We asked a representative from First Avenue Allotments whether negotiations were fruitful?

A spokesperson said: “Informal discussions were held with Carly Burd regarding funding for a specific project on the First Avenue Allotment site.

“These discussions never got beyond anything but the informal, with nothing concrete being agreed.

“In the end the committee felt it was not appropriate to accept anything and decided not to take the discussions any further”.

As we said, a number of other organisations including Streets2Homes, Butterfly Effect, Harlow Chocolate Run also rejected the offer of financial help.

Plus, not all organisations were unanimous in their agreement to take the money. We know of at least one trustee who has quit their position due to a particular community interest company (CIC) accepting the cash.

So what of the future? The Canon Gate Allotment project appears dead. We understand that Harlow Council will now move forward in developing it as a fully functioning allotment.

Ms Burd has finished her food delivery service. We understand Ms Burd still has plans for her schools project. Despite the Templefield Trust (Tany’s Dell, Fawbert and Barnard and Harlowbury) turning her down, she has claimed there is a project set to begin at the end of May.

She has also had something of a digital detox with some platforms removed but a number also remaining.

The question remains as to what will happen to the remaining money?

The GoFundMe page raised £254,213.

If you deduct the money donated to the organisations as well as GoFundMe administration fees, that may mean there is still the potential for £160,000 plus to be distributed to causes in Harlow.

We have asked how much money is left on a number of occasions and not received a definitive answer.

However, we understand Ms Burd has told interested individuals on Facebook that ‘It will all be on companies house once the end of year is submitted”.

We have not invited Ms Burd to comment as our most recent requests have not been answered.

For full background on all stories on this subject, click here

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13 Comments for Carly Burd turns down Harlow Council’s final offer to lease out Canon Gate allotment:

2024-04-28 16:01:09

Seems there's an awful lot more for Harlow Council to explain how they have handled this issue so badly. I say Harlow Council because the CIC will be required to publish their accounts and annual report via Companies House, there appears to be no interest from the Police about any irregularities but Ms Burd's name seems to have been so attacked that charities are refusing to accept donations from the project, on what factual basis we don't know. If the Council knows and if anything irregular / illegal has taken place then the Council needs to transparent and refer their evidence to Company's House or the police. Otherwise it looks like certain Council representatives have just had a personal problem dealing with Ms Burd and she has been subject to liable and slander.

Phillip J Fry
2024-04-28 17:50:29

Can someone explain to me what the issue is? She wants an allotment, the council has offered her what seems to be a pretty decent size allotment so what's the problem?

Harlow lifer
2024-04-28 19:17:54

Bored of this subject

2024-04-28 19:36:37

So, not a single penny of the £250,000 donated by kind-hearted strangers has gone to the cause they donated for?

sally Goodbrand
2024-04-29 06:23:11

I find this very disturbing I helped her go on the news to gather support for her project I feel jooped basically shejas done nothing she was supposed to do I just hoping this is wrong

Dig it over
2024-04-29 08:57:34

Since when did taking an allotment plot involve 'negoriations'? You either want one or you don't. She obviously doesn't!

David Forman
2024-04-29 10:14:01

For Nostradamus' benefit, I was in the room at the council offices at the first meeting with Carly Burd, councillors Nicky Purse, David Carter and council officer Michael Pitt. I can assure you that at the meeting I participated in regarding the Canons Gate allotment everyone were supportive of Carly Burd. I know from mulching 10+ years of bramble on numerous occasions during the month of September 2022 at Canons Gate, plus watching HTS clear crap from the allotment and talking to council officers & Conservative councillors on site that the council did all it possibly could to help Carly. Plus, not forgetting the costs of unleaded fuel, two-stroke oil, mulching blades, air filters and strimmer line which Carly didn't have to pay for. It has to be remembered that councillor Purse and her husband John were on site on several days at the beginning of the project doing the hard graft of clearing the site. John Purse is now a local election candidate in Mark Hall.

Sophie S
2024-04-29 10:39:36

Nostradamus. I do wonder whether you have given this any critical analysis, rather than merely accepting Carly’s version of events,? Or perhaps you are merely anti establishment? Harlow Council have conducted themselves professionally and have shown patience and support towards Carly - far more than most organisations would have. She was given access to the allotment for many, many months whilst they allowed her time to register as a charity (bear in mind that during the GoFundMe appeal she was apparently applying for charity status and had selected trustees etc). Instead of this Carly then decided to set up as a Ltd company in April 2023. She then spent 7 months procrastinating and finding excuses for the delay in converting to a C.I.C. Once she had finally registered as a CIC the council drafted a contract and sent this to Carly. Instead of then negotiating on the terms of the contract Carly threw the whole project away. Despite Carly’s constant public vitriol towards the council and libel of Councillor Purse, the council again offered Carly the opportunity to negotiate on the terms of the contract. Carly refused. How you can say that the Council is at fault in any of this quite honestly is astounding! The Council have not made a single accusation against Carly, they have merely issued statements of fact - unlike Carly, who has repeatedly made accusations against and libelled Councillor Purse.

Mrs Black
2024-04-29 12:11:25

I don't know Ms Burd and didn't know anything about what her purpose was. All I know about this is from these pages as they pop up overtime. I have to say from past experience that if Ms Burd is/was doing anything nefarious then the Police would have been involved in this situation and enquiries being made from some time ago. It's unfortunate too when you get these wannabe journalists putting their own spin on things which change people's perspective on something that may or may not be happening. There are also a lot of keyboard warriors on here that like me only have the information that is given by whoever writes the articles. I don't know if any wrongdoing has been done or not, but I can completely understand Ms Burd not wanting to converse with anybody as she is probably aware by now that no matter what she says or does she is always going to be wrong. This is what happens when the little people try to do good things and end up way over their head without the knowledge of how to proceed and when the amount of moneys raised there will always be the green eyed monsters out there. For her own sake, whatever has happened already, I think Ms Burd needs some form of legal representation as it appears she is being tried for wrongdoing that nobody has any proof of as yet.

Salty Sea Dog
2024-04-29 14:20:10

Mrs. Black - all Ms. Burd needs to do to make all this speculation go away is to publish a recent bank statement showing how much money is left and a list of expenditure to date. This is information that should be readily available. It's only right that she does this as the money was generously donated by the general public to benefit the people of Harlow.

Deborah Corella
2024-04-29 16:02:44

Mrs Black I think that if you had been following her social media before she deleted it you would understand some of the concerns that the public have. The concerns began when she was running the food parcels scheme, as there was absolutely no respect for people's privacy and no scheme to ensure that those in need received parcels at the time they were needed. She openly discussed (and criticised) with her followers on her public FB page the personal circumstances of some of her clients. She then stopped the food delivery service because, as she said, they were no longer required because of the small increase in benefits - she did not consult anyone when making that decision and clearly undertook no research into the matter. We then move on to her complete lack of transparency and refusal to answer the most basic of questions that were posed to her. She (and her solicitor) have been asked to confirm how much of the original money had been transferred to the CIC. This is important because the public would then know how much had been spent whilst it was in her sole control, and not subject to an asset lock, and how much was remaining to be used to help those in food poverty. Her refusal to answer this question has then obviously raised concerns among the public (many of whom donated to the fund). If anyone dared to even question her they were immediately blocked from all of her social media platforms (the method she used for communications). These were not questions from 'keyboard warriors' out to attack her, these were genuine questions from members of the public and the community. She was given complete support and advice from the council and chose to ignore their advice regarding establishing as a Charity and instead decided to establish as a Ltd company. When she then found out that the Council could not legally allow her to lease an allotment as a Ltd company, she spent 7 months delaying (apparently waiting for a driving license to be returned, even though she did not require this for Companies House). During this period of time she repeatedly criticised and attacked the Council, laying the blame at their door for some reason. Because of her absolute refusal to allow anyone else to have any role in the decision making process, she refused to establish as a Charity (she did not want other Trustees) and therefore lost £thousands in Gift Aid and will now be subject to corporation tax. She was advised of this by both the Council and by well-meaning and knowledgeable individuals, but she refused to listen. She is now a Community Interest Company and one of the fundamental principles of being such is that she can demonstrate that she is engaging appropriately with her stakeholders (the community). This is impossible if she limits any engagement to a select few followers who agree with absolutely everything she says/does and blocks anyone who dares to disagree or ask questions. I completely agree that she was way over her head, but most people in that situation would seek advice - Ms Burd refused to do this and was determined that things should be done 'her way' and that she knew best. Clearly, she did not. It is Ms Burd's complete lack of transparency and refusal to engage with the community that has caused the suspicions and questions. This situation is of her own making unfortunately. At the end of the day, what must be remembered is that this money was generously donated by members of the public to enable Carly to establish a community allotment and provide food to those in food poverty locally. Redirecting these funds to organisations that have absolutely no connection with either of these objectives is shocking and is just the latest development in this sorry saga.

2024-04-29 21:44:12

I appreciate Your Harlow's ongoing coverage of this public interest matter. It's important to recall that the public donated to alleviate food poverty in Harlow through food parcels and a community allotment project spearheaded by Ms Burd. While some recent fund allocations, for instance the Food Bank and the Bounty Club, align with the cause, others raise questions. Ms Burd distributed funds to organisations completely unrelated to food poverty, such as an organisation offering Meals on Wheels for a fee, an organisation providing mentoring courses for a fee and a music group. Some of these organisations have scant records filed on Companies House. Ms Burd apparently had to seek, and was granted, regulatory approval for these allocations, which is surprising given the mismatch and lack of filing history. The council's decision to reinstate public allotments on the land disproves Ms Burd’s previous accusation that the council would exploit the land for profit rather than to benefit the community. This demonstrates that Ms Burd’s criticism and public assault of the Council were baseless. Her withdrawal from social media, the only channel for public and community communication with her, obviously raises further suspicion and compounds the problem. Despite this, her supporters continue to blame Harlow Council and Your Harlow for alleged misrepresentation, ignoring the obvious facts. It's unclear what it would take for them to critically assess the situation. I do hope that the situation is resolved satisfactorily and that those in food poverty benefit from the remaining funds that the public kindly donated. Perhaps Ms Burd should return the remaining funds to the donors, thereby enabling them to personally choose an alternative organisation to benefit from their generosity?

sally Goodbrand
2024-05-01 06:28:51

Why give Harlow heartseals on wheels money you have to pay for there service so why give them a check for nearly 8 grand they are a business not a charity

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