"The Parks Trust tried to send me to jail for parking on their land in Milton Keynes"
The Parks Trust charity has refused to reveal the cost of its 'Mafia-like' battle to send a man to prison for parking on their access road.
A committal hearing in the County Court ended in an absolute discharge for defendants Howe Park Developments Ltd. The judge ruled the Parks Trust must pay its own court costs.
Boss Richard Moulton’s ‘crime’ was allowing a Western Power van to park on the Parks Trust’s 30 metre stretch of land near its famous Passive House at Tattenhoe.
Mr Moulton’s company is building three homes next to the Passive House. He describes the land as “a weed-strewn patch of gravel.”
But the legal battle over this land has been raging for more than a year, with the Parks Trust successfully going to court to get an injunction against Howe Park Developments using it.
The latest case was a bid to get Mr Moulton and his son sent to jail for breaching this injunction.
Now it is understood the Parks Trust is planning another legal battle – this time for damages.
Mr Moulton said: “It’s like the Mafia. All through this process we’ve had threats, attempts to close the company and threats of a freezing order on selling the three houses.”
He estimates the Parks Trust’s legal costs total tens of thousands and says the constant actions are “akin to gambling charitable money away.”
He still questions the ‘no access ’ ruling on the gravel stretch, as no restriction was mentioned when he was granted planning permission.
He estimates the case has cost the Parks Trust tens of thousands. All spending by charities must be accountable, but the Trust this week refused to answer the Citizen’s question about costs.
The Citizen asked the Charities Commission whether there was a public right to know. A spokesman replied: "We will be writing to the trustees to ask whether they have considered reporting the matter as a serious incident in line with our guidance."
A Parks Trust spokesman said : “While the Moltons were given an absolute discharge and no costs were awarded they were still found to be in contempt of court. The Parks Trust will be making no further comment.”
The Parks Trust’s assets are worth £109.7m and its annual income last year was £12.1m. It uses the cash to care for MK’s parks, lakes, woods, and green spaces
The Passive House was built by the Parks Trust in 2012 and is now rented to a tenant. It it reported to be the most airtight, energy efficient building in the UK