Recent Burnham Overy coverage

January 4, 2024 | News | 3 minute read

You may have seen recent coverage regarding contention over land at Burnham Overy. We hope you find the statement below helpful in clarifying the facts.

HOLKHAM STATEMENT Re. Allegations made by Mr Rod Cooke in December 2023 onwards

The recent press coverage reporting on Mr Cooke’s comments made damaging allegations against Holkham and against Burnham Overy Harbour Trust.  This led to wildly inaccurate and reputation-damaging coverage in regional and national newspapers and websites.

It was alleged that Holkham are in dispute with Burnham Overy Parish Council over ownership of a parcel of land and seeking to take other areas out of being common land.  This is not true. Holkham has offered to transfer title of the 77 Acres to BOPC if the parish council requested it.

It was alleged that Burnham Overy Harbour Trust are seeking commercial gain, are operating unlawfully and that the Charity Commission should investigate these allegations. This is not true. Over the last 50 years neither Holkham nor BOHT have taken profit from the Overy harbour, and The Charity Commission has confirmed its satisfaction with BOHT’s governance arrangements.

It was alleged that there is a damaging rift between Burnham Overy villagers and Holkham and the Harbour Trust.  This is not true.  The rift is with less than a handful of residents in the village while the large majority are supportive of the work these two organisations are doing to manage the National Nature Reserve and the harbour and creeks it includes for the benefit of nature, villagers, and visitors.

It is wrong that these untrue allegations can be made without accountability and scrutiny of those making them.  Over recent years, Mr Cooke has embarked on campaigns unfairly criticising and, at times, harassing members of three parish councils, the National Trust, Natural England, the Information Commissioner, the Charity Commission, Burnham Overy Harbour Trust, Holkham, three wildfowling clubs and a golf club.  His behaviour has been judged to have been vexatious and his actions have led to the resignation of a number of highly respected, community minded members of committees and councils, most of whom contributed their time voluntarily, and to obstacles put in the way of constructive projects.  In this context it is disappointing to see newspapers and TV programmes give these unfounded allegations airtime and credibility. Patience with this pattern of behaviour will soon reach its limit, when Mr Cooke may predictably claim he is being victimised by those who can more easily afford legal fees.

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