ABAS MINUTES OF 09/03/2015
Open Meeting at Astley Bridge Cricket Club
ABAS AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
ABAS exists to achieve fair treatment for all plot-holders on allotment sites within the Borough boundaries. It seeks to achieve this through the effective representation of plot-holders and societies to the Council and the provision of support to individual societies.
MINUTES OF LAST MEETING
The Minutes of the AGM having been posted on the Association’s Blog-site at http://www.abas2014.blogspot.co.uk the Committee moved to accept those minutes as a true and accurate record
There were no outstanding matters arising from the minutes of the AGM
ABAS membership currently covers some 502 plot-holders (either through their society or individually)
ABAS’ target is to increase that membership to cover all 950+ plot-holders on Council plots
Membership renewals (for 2016) will be due in June / July -
SHOWS AND COMPETITIONS
Borough Allotments Competition
Judging will take place in June / July 2015
Entry forms were made available from the Treasurer at the end of the meeting. Other forms will be mailed out to Site / Society Secretaries during March.
Onion and Leek Show
Will take place on the 27th September 2015 at Astley Bridge Cricket Club
A provisional schedule of classes has been prepared by the Show Committee and will be published on the blog-site, together with the scoring system for class 1. The show will be judged by a National Vegetable Society Judge.
ABAS SPEAKERS’ PROGRAMME
Two speakers have been arranged
13th April – Dave Metcalfe – ‘Exhibition Onions’
11th May – J Woods ‘ ‘Growing and Showing’
These meetings will start at 7.30 p.m.
Other speakers will be arranged on topics agreed with the members
There will be raffles at these events to raise funds to support our costs in arranging the speakers, the Allotment Competitions and the Onion and Leek Show
THE COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME
The Council has launched an initiative called the Community Empowerment Programme
There are two elements – small projects for which one-off grants are available and larger projects which can be funded for up to 2 years.
Any project must demonstrate that it
- Saves the Council expenditure AND / OR
- Enables the continued provision of a service which would otherwise be cut AND / OR
- Enables a service which has been discontinued to be reintroduced
Details are available on the Council web-site www.bolton.gov.uk
REPORT BACK ON THE COMMITTEE’S MEETING WITH MALCOLM RUSSELL 24.02.2015
There are no foreseen changes to existing communications between the Council and ABAS and/or Society Secretaries
The annual OMA reviews will continue with existing OMA sites, there may be some simplification of the earlier agreements
The Council wishes to consider whether on sites where there is no society it could appoint a single person (who would have to be an individual member of ABAS) to act as Site Representative
The Council has now completed its billing exercise (begun October 2014) and in its view resolved all issues
As part of its review, in future ‘Eviction Notices’ will be served by Registered Post (i.e. not placed on plots)
As part of its review the Council will be issuing new guidance to Site Secretaries about plots which are re-let during the period July – Sept (inclusive)
There are currently some 50 vacant plots (borough-wide) available for re-letting
From discussions we think the Council currently feel under pressure on two fronts.
- The numbers on the Council waiting list - hence the notion of splitting plots to get more people off it and more quickly.
- Income - the allotments budget is balanced and there is no leeway, there is a need to keep rents coming in - hence the need to get plots re-let quickly
This has led to more suggestions from them to split plots as they become vacant and demands that site secretaries on OMA sites re-let vacated plots promptly. Abas has posted a procedure on the blog-site which Site Secretaries might wish to adopt if under pressure to split plots
REPORTS BACK FROM SOCIETIES AND ISSUES ARISING
Society Secretaries report increasing frustration with communications with the Allotments Section. We appreciate that the section is understaffed (essentially just one part-time clerical worker who has many other duties as well) but there is a strong feeling that some matters e.g. responses to the Monthly Reports are not adequately dealt with.
v It was suggested that societies should keep a record of all issues raised with the Council. They should inform ABAS of these issues on a monthly basis so that ABAS can present a Borough-wide picture to the Allotments section in future meetings.
There are issues relating to Break-ins and Vandalism on Allotments Sites.
v It was suggested that secretaries should a) ensure that any member affected by a break-in or vandalism reports this individually to the police b) that the secretary also informs ABAS and c) that ABAS keeps a central log of all allotment=based incidents. ABAS could then seek a meeting with representatives of GMP about the problems.
v It was further suggested that a representative of GMP be invited to speak at the June meeting about schemes such as Allotment Watch and about security in general.
ISSUES REMAINING FROM 2014 – CLAMMERCLOUGH, CEMETERY RD. ETC.
Having held a site meeting Clammerclough have decided not to proceed with plans for an OMA
No information has been received from Cemetery Rd. We understand that Malcolm Russell is pursuing the matter with the Cemeteries section whose contractor caused the problems
Links to the National Vegetable Society – ABAS has now collectively joined the National Vegetable Society and members will be eligible to access its website and services. The Secretary is exploring how this may be done and will post updates on the blogsite.
Links to the North-West Counties Allotment Association – The Chair and Treasurer have volunteered to act as liaison with the NWCAA and will be attending its AGM on the 29th March,
Links to the National – The Regional Mentor is currently on sick leave and we have also had no communication with the Regional Representative – it is hoped to reopen contacts via the NWCAA AGM.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
DATE AND TIME OF NEXT MEETING
Monday 13th April – 7.30 start as we have a guest speaker at Astley Bridge Cricket Club