CONSERVATORS fear proposed constitutional changes to the Malvern Hills Trust will shut the public out of meetings.

The trust is currently subject to a requirement to hold all its meetings in public except where exempt matters are being discussed.

However, lawyers advising the charity are calling for a clampdown on public access to their committees.

They say that the public should only be allowed into board meetings so that committee meetings can be held without admitting members of the public.

The legal advisers say this would be in the best interests of the charity in order to enable more open and frank discussion between the trustees.

“It’s completely wrong” said one board member who did not wish to be named.

“It takes away accountability. What’s wrong with keeping the public informed with what is being done with public money?”

The outcomes from committee meetings would be reported to the board in any event, and it is envisaged that the need for committees would be limited if the size of the board was reduced, as most issues would be decided by the board.

The Trust acknowledges that this would be a significant departure from the present arrangements.

It is also proposed that there should be an express power to close a meeting to the public if the normal conduct of the business was being disrupted.

Other changes to its constitution include the reduction of board members from 29 to 12.

The reduction would follow best practice guidelines from the Charity Commission.

Residents can view the consultation and comment by visiting their website The consultation ends on October 13