RSPCA respond to outrage over bulldozed land


On Tuesday, 24th April, we reported that a plot of land off Heyes Lane, which was left to the RSPCA by a wild life enthusiast, has been bulldozed.

David Brown, of 83 Heyes Lane, died in 2007 leaving his house and land to the charity. He wanted the land to be left for wildlife and specifically requested that it was not sold for building but last week workmen arrived and cleared the site.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA said "We are incredibly grateful to Mr Brown for his generous bequest. The funds raised from the sale of his house were put towards the upkeep of cats as he requested.

"Mr Brown wished us in the legacy not to sell the land for building though this wasn't a binding condition of the will. However it is extremely regrettable that we were then not able to use the land in accordance with Mr Brown's wishes.

"We considered other options including using it for local RSPCA branches. At the time of Mr Brown's death in 2007, the plot (0.40 acres) was not viable for use by the RSPCA, especially as there was a moratorium on any planning consents except for housing association schemes or a nursing home.

"This moratorium was due to be in place until 2012, but was then lifted in 2008. At this point it became apparent that the value of land could decrease which would mean less money being available for animals under RSPCA care. So the then Chief Executive decided to proceed with the marketing of the property and the land.

"In 2009 we asked HSBC (the executors) to ask the estate agent who was selling the property and land to notify all adjoining owners of the marketing once it commenced."

The estate agent set a date of July 2010 for bids to be made, in total fifteen bids were received. HSBC accepted the highest offer and the sale of the land was completed in August 2011, which we believe was to Deanbank Investments Ltd, part of the Emerson Group.

The spokesperson added "The RSPCA has used the money from the sale of the land for its animals at the nearest wildlife rescue centre, Stapeley Grange as well as some other RSPCA centres."



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

David Clark
Friday 27th April 2012 at 2:38 pm
In the Wilmslow Express of 26th April it stated that a spokesman for Jones Home said "Neither The Emerson Group, Jones Homes or Peter Jones have acquired the land and have no ownership rights"
Dean Bank Investments are in fact part of the Emerson Group
Jayne Meakin
Friday 27th April 2012 at 7:11 pm
I was visiting my family on Saturday afternoon 21st April 2012, when I thought I must be in the wrong place. What on earth has happened to Heyes Lane, and who has caused this mass distruction? I am told the land was purchased by PE Jones, Dean Bank Development. Well what a surprise, will this person and his company stop at nothing. It appears that any bit of land that becomes available; like a vulture he swoops down to retrieve his prey. Well this time it has gone too far, and as an outsider looking in, I can only feel Distress and sorrow for the lovely people of Heyes Lane, who are now surrounded by this masacred land. Plant new trees Mr Jones and leave this land alone, you can only cause more mahem if you try to build, and surely a man like yourself doesn't need an angry mob of distressed residents, I dont think so!!! Let Mr Brown rest in peace and leave his land purely for the wildlife.
Alan R Davies
Saturday 28th April 2012 at 5:22 pm
"Mr Brown wished us in the legacy not to sell the land for building". I'm not a lawyer but that sounds clear enough to me. Prospective philanthropists should take note that the RSPCA does not respect the wishes of their donors if they can find a loophole to wriggle out of their obligations. I'm also sure that there would have been plenty of local volunteers prepared to help conserving this site as a nature reserve. While the receipts from the sale of this land no doubt helped the RSPCA to spend money in the interests of wildlife at other locations, it must also have been a welcome contribution towards their Chief Executive's £105k salary.
Dave Clarke
Saturday 28th April 2012 at 6:40 pm
Alan - if you are correct, something should be be done, how?
Dave Clarke
Saturday 28th April 2012 at 6:46 pm
Can I suggest everyone posts their disgust both here and on their Facebook page to request some form of action, potentially restoring the site to the position it formerly was and respecting Mr Browns request.
Eric Rowland
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 8:32 am
Writing as one who, as a youth, experienced much pleasure pot-holing in the copper mines on the Wizard, I am appalled at the disgraceful behaviour of the RSPCA. David Brown was convinced that he had put the land into safe keeping when he bequeathed it. Seems to me, and to many others, that the RSPCA is a bit low on scruples.
Let us hope it might be possible to do something about it, although I doubt it.
Eric Rowland
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 8:37 am
Well, well. Seems like the RSPCA are no strangers to this sort of thing.
Helen Morley
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 9:21 am
I am not a local, and saw this article in the Sunday Mail this morning. I am stunned that the RSPCA have completely disrespected this generous and kindly man's wishes. So what if it wasn't a legal request? It was a gift! I certainly will never, ever help the RSPCA with any kind of giving or donation ever again as they have shown themselves to be completely untrustworthy. I am also very sorry for the residents of this area who have lost yet another green space to averice and greedy developers (and well done for bringing this to the attention of the world) but most of all, I am sorry that human beings value nature and wildlife so poorly, that they cannot appreciate the quality of the gift David bestowed.
Dave Clarke
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 9:40 am
A response from the RSPCA posted on their website ( apologies if already seen), the way I interpret this is that your wishes will only be respected 'if' you legally tie the RSPCA's hands. I guess that demonstrates their respect for donors, wishes respected if we have to is the interpretation.
Alan R Davies
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 10:48 am
Hello Dave,

I'm not sure what could be done, as I said, I'm not a lawyer. Maybe Mr Brown's executors could consider suing the RSPCA. Perhaps a local lawyer might be prepared to look at this on a "pro bono" basis. If it could be proved that the sale of the land was unlawful, then it might cast doubt over Deanbank Investments' legal ownership. That's all speculation for the time being. What is fact is that this is not an isolated example. The RSPCA recently tried to get planning permission for the development of land at Totland on the Isle of Wight, that had been left to it as a bequest to be used as grazing in perpetuity. They hoped to be able to increase the value before selling it. Fortunately their planning application was turned down. They may be registered as a charity, but their commercial ethics leave a lot to be desired.
Alan R Davies
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 11:07 am
In another news item, the Sunday Times Rich List 2012, published today, shows that the wealth of Peter Jones and family has increased by £34M to £707M over the last year.
Dave Clarke
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 11:26 am
Hi Alan,

The problem is that I don't doubt what has been done is legal, alas it is just disregard for a generous mans wishes. Guess on the end we will just have to suck it up and learn from it.
June Meagher
Sunday 29th April 2012 at 12:35 pm
The RSPCA' action is disgusting and I certainly will not be supportive of them in the future. They did not deserve his generous gift but they certainly deserve every bad bit of press they get for it. Shame on them.
Eric Rowland
Monday 30th April 2012 at 8:40 pm
In all fairness, Alan, I shouldn't think that Peter Jones and his company were aware of the terms of the bequest. The land was put on the market and a successful bid was made. The real villains in this are the RSPCA.
My daughter, who lives in Peterborough, adopted a Westie (ostensibly spayed) from her local RSPCA shelter 4 years ago and was assured that it had a skin problem that would clear up within a few weeks. She paid somewhere in the region of £130 and has been saddled with large vet's bills ever since. She also discovered that the dog had not been spayed, and although the shelter agreed to do this, they procrastinated to such an extent that my daughter finished up paying for the operation privately. Not once did the society return a phone call.
Not exactly dependable, and no more subscriptions from me.
Alan R Davies
Monday 30th April 2012 at 10:34 pm
Hello Eric,

You are correct that respect of the terms of the bequest was the responsibility of the RSPCA rather than Jones Homes. Apart from the ethical question, I would also question the financial competency of the RSPCA.

According to another report, the RSPCA sold both the house and land for £295,000. Assuming that the house was worth around £200,000, that means that they received less than £100,000 for the land. And they were worried that the value of the land would decrease?! Since there is space for about a dozen homes on a similar scale to Belmont Cottages, if Jones Homes get planning permission I would estimate the value of the site in the order of £2,000,000. The RSPCA has also damaged their ability to attract legacies by far more than the receipts from the sale.

The main criticism of Jones Homes is that they have cynically cleared the site in order to pre-empt objections to planning permission on grounds such as animal protection, open green space, potential tree preservation orders etc. We have seen similar action recently by the developers of the Royal Oak site. We all need to increase our vigilance to protect other sites in and around the village, and trust that our local councils will take vigorous protection and enforcement action.
Dina Robinson
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 9:57 am
Neither the RSPCA or Jones Homes look very good in this situation but at the end of the day they are both businesses.
The name of Peter Jones and Emerson developments rears it head regularly in the village and often with a negative response from villagers. So come on Peter, now is your chance to redeem yourself with your neighbours! Replant the land, and allow nearby residents to enjoy rather than the prospect of being overlooked by new housing with its accompanying noise, access problems and increased traffic.
Steve Savage
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 1:22 pm
Mr Brown died in 2007 and left his house and land to the RSPCA. Am I missing something here? Would the local residents prefer that the land be used to house abandoned and mistreated dogs and other animals...I very much doubt it. If the RSPCA can't realise a financial benefit from this deal then what is the point? This charity rescues and rehomes abused and mistreated animals....without the financial means how do you expect them to continue? I applaud Mr Jones for his kind donation of £295,000....if it helps to save more mistreated animals it's got to be a good thing.

On the Jones issue....don't us British just love to have a pop at successful people?!
Kelvin Briggs
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 1:26 pm
My personal decision having read about this is to cancel my regular monthy donation to the RSPCA. Quite simply I think they have acted poorly and against the spirit of the late Mr Browns intentions. Unacceptable to me.
Alan R Davies
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 1:53 pm
Yes Steve, I think that you are missing something. The RSPCA could have sold Mr Brown's house for about £200,000, used the receipts as they saw fit, and still have respected the spirit of the bequest by retaining the land as a nature reserve. As for "the Jones issue", I have the fullest respect for the business acumen and success of the Jones family. I only expect that their companies operate in an ethical fashion respecting the interests of local communities, as I would expect of any other company. If they aren't prepared to do that voluntarily, we are then dependent on national and local government agencies to ensure that they do.
Steve Savage
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 1:57 pm
The national Trust might have been a better recipient then. The RSPCA don't run nature reserves.
Alan R Davies
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 2:37 pm
Steve, the RSPCA didn't have to "run" a nature reserve. Nature doesn't need human intervention to manage a habitat, only to ensure that other humans don't destroy it.
Steve Savage
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 2:46 pm
So what benefit would a bequest like that be to the RSPCA then Alan? In these current times with more and more animals being abandoned, cash is what's required. I would prefer to think that Mr Brown left his estate to the RSPCA because he admired the work they undertook and thought it a worthwhile cause.
Paul Welton
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 3:32 pm
Mr Savage , You are missing the point I live at Belmont Cottages and knew David and his wish was to retain the land and wild life that he loved ,He left the RSPCA his home , contents and money, and asked that the land be left unbuilt on leaving the trees bushes for the wild life that he loved and used to feed, He thought the RSPCA would respect and carry out his wish. David was a kind and thoughtful man and much missed by us all. As for the RSPCA i would not give them a penny after the way they have treated Davids wishes
Jayne Meakin
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 4:34 pm
I agree entirely with Alan and Paul. Nature does not require human intervention to manage its habitat. As Paul states Mr Brown was a man who left his money for a purpose, to save animals whether it be wildlife or the domestic species. It would therefore seem odd that this land and all its habitat be destroyed for building and financial gain.
Kaz Baildon
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 5:44 pm
Steve - feel free to prefer to think whatever you like - it's amazing how people can prefer to think something rather than accept the reality of the situation, namely that the habitat of many, many songbirds and wild animals such as rabbits, stoats and even possibly badgers was destroyed in a single afternoon. It is deathly quiet round the back of our homes now, wanton destruction by a greedy local developer for the sake of a quick buck. Please come and see for yourself. In a few months I reckon there will be people living there, not wildlife. The RSPCA have taken advantage of the lack of a legal covenant - they should be ashamed!
Kelvin Briggs
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 6:47 pm
I think anger and frustration is best directed at the RSPCA who acted in an unfortunate way possibly against the intention of the generous benefactor. The land was put up for sale and venting fury at the purchaser is in my personal opinion not the key issue. Whoever bought it is running waht i understand is a legitimate business that builds homes , offices and provides local employment. By the way, I have no connection with the land purchaser.
Claire MacLeod
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 7:57 pm
Wait. Some of you are missing a vital part of the puzzle which has already been pointed out.

Both the RSPCA and Jones Homes/ Emersons (whatever name they want to go under) are equally complicit in this appalling disregard for Mr Brown's final instructions. The RSPCA for relying on legal protection for their knowing disrespect for his final wishes and Jones Homes for destroying the natural habitat prior to application for planning permission.

What? Is £707M not enough personal fortune, Mr Jones? Is being ranked 110th most wealthy in the UK not sufficient?

Steve Savage, could you explain how the £295,000 purchase of the land could be described as a 'kind donation'? Are you aware of the definition of the word 'donation'?

We British don't despise 'successful people' per se. We just despise people who have complete disregard for other people, particularly those who are less fortunate. I think your question speaks volumes. About you. "If the RSPCA can't realise a financial benefit from this deal then what is the point?"
Julie Richards
Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 9:56 pm
Steve Savage you are missing something.... I am a resident on Heyes Lane and knew David Brown. He trusted the RSPCA..... He wrote his will how he saw best... he was dyslexic.... he had learning difficulties.... so no matter how he worded his will.... the RSPCA should have respected his final wish. He has been let down so badly...

You are also wrong about the residents here we would much prefer to see animals on this land. We are all united here and gathering information from whereever we can to try to fight for Davids wishes.

The company who came in and bulldozed the land without any application for planning????... Why were the established old oak trees cut down with no planning application on the Cheshire East web site????

I can see other people have had to apply for cutting down trees..... even with no TPO on them. Councillors are you reading???

Can any one from the council come forward and help the Heyes Lane residents in their quest to restore David's land back to a natural habitat...... (I DOUBT IT)
Steve Savage
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 7:51 am
Hang on Julie... surely Mr Brown had his will written using a solicitor...are you saying otherwise? Why didn't the solicitor include a binding term within the will to conur with Mr Browns wishes.... is there a liability there? I would also supsect that as the plot was residential, then perhaps no permission was required to clear the land, no TPO's etc.
Paul Welton
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 9:17 am
Mr Savage, Yes David made his will at HSBC in Alderley and it was clear about the land ,to be left unbuilt on and left for the wild life, Surly a house and the money was enough, and seeing the RSPCA knew, this, and yet sold to a builder, what does that say about the RSPCA, As for trees even on residential land you have to ask permission, .If you do not you can be taken to court and pay a fine. Maybe Mr Savage you should visit the site and see what you have to say then.
Steve Savage
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 9:34 am
I would think that HSBC may well have been a trustee.... surely he would have had a solicitor draw up his will as Banks don't provide this service? Wrong about the trees though Paul, only if there is a tree preservation order or if they are in a conservation area.
Alan R Davies
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 10:10 am
Steve, I don't really understand why you are spending so much time defending the indefensible. Is your moral compass really only defined by what is legal and what isn't?
Steve Savage
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 10:24 am
Alan... I'm not "defending the indefensible"........ establishing the facts and trying to understand the situation as opposed to hysterical witch hunts doesn't sound unreasonable..
Michael Morgan
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 12:28 pm
It is a real shame that this land, left to the RSPCA (and assuming comments on here are correct by people who knew Mr Brown) for conservation purposes was destroyed. I do not think we should particularly blame Jones Homes/Orbit etc. The land was on the market, therefore any other developer could have come along to purchase the land and we would be facing the same issues. The only way to have stopped this would have been for someone to purchase the land for conservation purposes - which is an unlikely scenario, but not unheard of.

In terms of the value of the land, Alan Davies is missing the point somewhat - assuming that you can build 10/12 houses on and sell them for £200,000 does not make the land worth £2,000,000 - unless the cost of the building the houses is zero.
Steve Savage
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 12:37 pm
I agree Michael... there has been an awful lot of finger pointing and insinuations thrown around on this post without trying to get to the roots of the issue. It does seem strange that Mr Brown left this land to the RSPCA for conservation purposes. Perhaps if he had been better advised at the time, his last wishes might have been upheld. I get the feeling there's a fair degree of nimbyism at work here though.
Paul Welton
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 12:39 pm
Realy Mr Savage how many times do you have to be told, HSBC do have a legal dep to make wills try any bank,
Steve Savage
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 12:55 pm
HSBC provide a will writing service (it's a pack that sent out), however it's all then passed on and dealt with by an external company.... go ask them yourself.
Michael Orange
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 1:36 pm
Surely this is a matter of honour. Some years ago I was given a quantity of athletics equipment for use by my local Scout troop. By the standards of behaviour of the RSPCA, I could have disposed of this equipment on the open market and used the money for other Scouting purposes, or even pocketed it myself, since there was no legal written contract. However, I accepted the benefactor's terms and was therefore honour bound by them. Whichever way you argue, the RSPCA has been dishonourable in accepting the bequest knowing that it had no intention in complying with the conditions. Resorting to legal niceties is the behaviour of a scoundrel.
Samantha Palmer
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 6:03 pm
People, please remember there are two different RSPCA's, one that gets government funding (responsible for this story) and one that doesn't. Please still support your local RSPCA !
Dave Clarke
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 6:25 pm
Sam - fair comment, but alas the actions of one reflects on the other.
Samantha Palmer
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 9:19 pm
Dave - hence why I am trying to make the public aware that their are two separate charities and do not tar a very much needy charity for the sake of ignorance
Kaz Baildon
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 at 9:51 pm
I wondered how long it would be before the word NIMBY appeared! Before you pass judgment, please come and have a look at how we live in these cottages - they are tiny cottages with tiny backyards all crammed in together and we all live cheek by jowl using common entries and unadopted gravel roads and pathways. I don't think any of us would have any objection to having more people crammed into our tiny corner of the world as unlike some of our more well off neighbours we are not used to having a lot of unobstructed private space or picturesque views, but what we do object to is having our supposedly protected wildlife driven out by cruel, wanton destruction. We felt so lucky to have this tiny unspoiled corner of land among us - I was particularly shocked to read comments that the land was used for fly tipping and was a mess - that is a blatant lie.
Julie Richards
Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 7:55 am
Yes Kas I agree
It is nothing to do with NIMBYISM!!!!..... I would be supporting David Browns last wishes if he lived at the other side of the country... even if he worded his will in a different way I am sure a loop hole would have been found for monitary gain...There is a sence of morals here not being upheld to..... Thank God there are people out there like Mr Michael Orange with a sence of dignity and respect who honour peoples last wishes
Paul Welton
Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 9:20 am
Well put Kas and Julie,and yes thank God for people with a sence of dignity and respect.
Michael Morgan
Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 11:18 am
Ultimately this has everything to do with Nimbyism. Whilst it is honourable to suggest that you would support this cause in other parts of the country, the fact is that it does happen in other parts of the country (as mentioned above) and you don't mention that you have supported this cause previously. I suspect that is because you hadn't realised that this 'wanton destruction' took place until it happened in your 'backyard'. In this instance, I don't think there is anything wrong with Nimbyism - people aren't complaining (yet) that they don't want a new housing development on the land, the key issue is that the RSPCA apparently went against a donor's wishes and decimated land which was donated to them in good faith. It is this moral disregard which I think is the key point of contention.
Helen Morley
Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 3:09 pm
Well, I don't live anywhere near the site and can't be accused of Nimbyism, but I worked as the warden of nature reserves for 13 years and fought to preserve such spaces as this. I am as sad for the people who lived near this space as I am for the wildlife who have been killed or moved on. We are robbed day by day of little pockets of the natural world and we just don't have the power to stop it happening anymore. We have no means to stop the greed, the way that our natural systems are valued as so much less than money, profit and housing. Inch by inch our planet is being covered in concrete, we comply too much. The fact that this has been done by a reputed (!) charity who clearly have the same moral core as the developer who bulldozed it, is alarming and of course people are going to be upset. Why shouldn't people care about their backyard, or have an emotional connection to their neighbours? If they can't look after what is nearby, then they can't look after something further away can they? Would it be better if they turned a blind eye or were indifferent?
Michael Morgan
Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 7:13 pm
Helen, thank you for your comment. If you read my comment in full you will see that I agree with NYMBISM in this case as it is for a worthy cause.
Steve Savage
Friday 4th May 2012 at 7:24 am
"In 2009 we asked HSBC (the executors) to ask the estate agent who was selling the property and land to notify all adjoining owners of the marketing once it commenced."

The estate agent set a date of July 2010 for bids to be made, in total fifteen bids were received. HSBC accepted the highest offer and the sale of the land was completed in August 2011, which we believe was to Deanbank Investments Ltd, part of the Emerson Group.

Did anyone notified raise objections or concerns when the property was marketed in 2010?
Mark Duffy
Friday 4th May 2012 at 8:02 am
Hi Steve. I have a file full of letters to the HSBC complaining. My main issue was that David Brown did not actually own all the land, and only a strip of it, as the title plan that the Land Registry used to register the title had been falsified by his mother. It had boundary lines rubbed out and a larger are drawn in. My dispute with the Land Registry is still unresolved, and their adjudicator has recently pointed me to Parliament. There is a strong possibility that this allotment land is still owned by these 12 cottages, that were the first houses to be built on Heyes land back in the early 1800s.
Kaz Baildon
Friday 4th May 2012 at 8:09 am
Is the dispute of the title still ongoing then - and what are the next steps?
Paul Welton
Friday 4th May 2012 at 10:19 am
Mark Duffy is right the land [allotments] is in dispute, for the reasons he has mentioned. Also M r Savage do i take it you are involved with the sale of the land ie estate agent or the HSBC .? Back to the RSPCA ,they new David Browns will stated the land not to be built on and left for the wild life.So they could have made a choice not to sell to a builder Was the £30,000 and money from this house and contents not enough to grant his last wish. Thanku Helen, for ur comments it is true.
Steve Savage
Friday 4th May 2012 at 10:25 am
No Paul....of course anyone with a different opinion to yours must have a vested interest!!!!
Paul Welton
Friday 4th May 2012 at 4:17 pm
Steve i only asked you if u had an interest in the Bank or estate agent, as you seem to know so much, May i also say my opinion as you put it is to try and see David Browns wishes carried out. As I think that anyone who makes a will would like their wishes to be carried out wouldn't they. Lets remember why this was brought to everyones attention in the first place.
Paul Welton
Monday 7th May 2012 at 10:06 am
As most of you would have read this week the RSPCA responded to criticism over the land [allotments] that it sold against the will of the late Mr David Brown Saying a wish means nothing David left his home ,contents and £30,000 in bonds and the land [allotments] to the RSPCA .The only thing he asked was that the RSPCA would leave the land unbuilt on and left for the wild life,I dont think that is much to ask when you have left so much to the RSPCA . David loved the wild life that had made their homes on this open land, with its mature trees bushes and berrys ,wild flowers , Bees ,birds ,ect. When the estate of the late Mr David Brown Who i think many of you knew as a kind thoughtfull man who loved animals of all kinds and loved wild life that he used to feed from out of his hands,was markeded for sale . it was to be sold as one sale!!!, What i dont understand is how then was it that in the Express this week the RSPCA sold THE ESTATE as two , Land sold to Dean Bank Investmentsfor £70,000 and the Cottage £225,000 to Jones Residential Leasing , Is this because they are both part of the Emerson Group, But why listed under two names .
Kaz Baildon
Monday 7th May 2012 at 2:56 pm
Yesterday's Mail on Sunday had a lot of letters in response to the article the previous week.
Alec Finney
Tuesday 8th May 2012 at 2:02 pm
A bit of context.

I mentioned this ourageous outome to a friend of mine who deals with wills, trusts, legacies etc.

He is not in the slightest surprised by the behaviour of the RSPCA. In his experience charities generally act with impunity to the wishes of the benefactor - they are only interested in maximising cash.

My take on this. Make sure the terms of any benefit from a will to a charity are unambiguous and actionable.
Kirsteen Peel
Wednesday 9th May 2012 at 8:08 am
To try to add some background about the RSPCA, I am involved with a a dog rescue organisation (which is entirely self-funding and run by volunteers) and when we asked for the RSPCA's help to prosecute the former owners of a badly-abused dog we were basically told it was too much trouble and too expensive to pursue - despite the fact that we did all the work (collected the dog, arranged and paid for a great deal of vet treatment and foster care and provided back-up documentation and witness statements). As the RSPCA is the only animal welfare organisation able to instigate prosecutions, those people got away with inflicting horrific abuse.
This sorry tale is just another illustration of how the RSPCA is NOT interested in animal welfare first and foremost, it is effectively a commercial organisation. I would however support the comments made by Samantha Palmer above - it is the national organisation we are talking about here, not a locally run and locally funded shelter.
It is therefore important that the word is spread to people wishing to help animals that they understand exactly where their money is going and how it is likely to be spent. I for one would be happy to see my donation helping the local shelter but I would not wish it to go on vast salaries for management or misleading television adverts! The devil is in the detail.
Sadly it is too late for Mr Brown's wishes to be honoured and it is tragic that they have been so callously ignored, that this small sanctuary has been lost to the local wildlife and that his money has disappeared into the coffers to be spent on who knows what...
Samantha Palmer
Wednesday 9th May 2012 at 1:25 pm
Thank you Kirsteen, I agree completely.
I do a lot to help out my local RSPCA, I'm even doing a sponsored abseil down a lighthouse this Saturday to raise money for them.
I would not be doing the same for the National RSPCA, unfortunately, as, like Kirsteen said, the money isn't going towards helping animals in need, in my opinion they are a pretty poor excuse for a so called 'animal charity'. It says a lot about who is behind these organisations...the government!
Steve Savage
Wednesday 9th May 2012 at 1:36 pm
This is from the RSPCA website...

"Over the years, gifts left to us by people in their Wills have helped us build and maintain our animal centres and hospitals. Today, these gifts are as vital as ever, allowing us to invest in essential new facilities like a veterinary suite at Ashley Heath Animal Centre near Bournemouth.

In fact, gifts left to us in Wills pay for over half of all our work. In 2011 they helped us rescue or collect nearly 120,000 animals, treat more than 200,000 animals in our hospitals and investigate over 155,000 cruelty complaints."
Paul Welton
Thursday 10th May 2012 at 9:42 am
Mr Savage i take it you didnt read the Mail on Sunday and the letters about how the RSPCA had turned their backs on people looking to them to help hurt animals. One being a Swan.Maybe its time we took a real look.Thankyou David Brown for looking after the wild life while he was a live and leaving the land not to be built on and left for the wild life ,Bees , Birds badgers , and other small animals. mature trees, flowering trees, wild flowers , all gone now thanks to the RSPCA For saying his wish ment nothing , but sure they thanked him for his House £225,000 and £30,000 in bonds pluss contents.
Paul Welton
Monday 21st May 2012 at 9:22 am
I would like to thank The RT HON George Osborne For ur letter over this land