In a letter to Stratford’s town clerk, Sarah Summers, the chairman of Rase, Martyn Luscombe, declares: “We are concerned that the composition of the trust board does not include the appropriate number of representatives with an interest in Stratford town, including those who are elected, that it constitutionally should.”

Mr Luscombe says the trust is bound by the Shakespeare Birthplace Act of 1961 which requires ten members to represent local interests, including three aldermen – a title in local government that disappeared 40 years ago. The only elected representative now on the board was the Mayor of Stratford during his or her year of office. Mr Luscombe also challenges the “potential conflicts of interest” of some trustees.

The town council has hired Richard Eggington, former chief executive of Stratford Town Trust, to investigate. He will report his findings tonight.