Friday, 24 July 2015

Minutes of 13.07.2015

Minutes of the Abas Meeting 13.07.2015


Minutes of Last Meeting


The minutes of the meeting of 08.06.2015 having been posted on the Association’s blogsite at for a period of at least 2 weeks, the Secretary moved that the minutes be accepted.

There was an objection from Deeley Rd Allotments Site that an issue raised by them had not been minuted and thus they believed not raised with Malcolm Russell.

This concerns the overruling of a decision by the committee to deny permission to a plot-holder to have a pond on his / her plot. The Society pointed out that the previous Allotments Officer had clearly stated that ponds were not allowed on health and safety grounds. The plot-holder had appealed to the Allotments staff and been told that ponds were acceptable. The Society’s officers felt this undermined their role in terms of the OMA.

The Secretary apologised for the omission and stated that he would post this note on the blog and raise the matter with Mr Russell. 


Matters Arising

How will probationary tenants gain access to sites during their probation IF the Council continues its policy of not issuing keys until a signed Tenancy Agreement has been returned to them as probationary tenants won’t get an agreement until the end of their probation period? 

The Council response is that a common sense solution would be for site societies to issue keys and to charge the probationer a deposit which covers the cost. The Council will be prepared to provide societies with a few keys to kick-start the process. The OMA text is to be altered to say this.

If a society follows Council guidelines and splits suitable plots as and when they become vacant, who is responsible for measuring the resulting small plots so that the correct rent can be charged?

The Council response is that if the plots are halved then so is the rent. If measurements are needed then the Society should do them, although the Council is prepared to provide wooden pegs and measuring tapes if asked.

Question of existing tenants moving outside the Borough boundaries

The Council’s ruling is that a tenant may keep his/her plot if their new address is within 1 mile of the Borough boundary.

Question about waiving the insurance requirement for an OMA for small sites who take on limited responsibilities

No response as yet from the Council – ABAS will raise this again with Mr Russell


Feedback on new OMA reporting arrangements

The new system whereby we submit our monthly reports during the second full week of each month has had its first month of operation.

Members present were generally favourable about how things are working out so far in that replies to reports are being received, with responses on most matters.

Have any of the concerns expressed by members at the last meeting been addressed in the meantime?

There was little in the way of a detailed response from members as yet, we await further feedback.


Membership Issues

The Committee has suggested three groups / categories of sites within Bolton

Cat 1 – Current Sites with existing OMA arrangements – the following sites have OMAs – Dealey Rd, Florence Avenue, Harpers Lane, Moss Lea, Sapling Rd., Settle Street, Shepherd Cross St., Tonge Fold, Tonge Moor (9 sites / 462 plots) – all sites are members of abas.

The Council report that 3 further sites are in the OMA process – Lever Park (Horwich), Haslam Park, Rawlyn Rd. – with a further 99 plots


This would mean that 561 plots are covered by OMAs out of 959 plots in the Borough. All current and pending OMA sites are Abas members.


Cat 2 – sites who are abas members but who do not have an OMA

Clammerclough, Smedley Avenue, Cemetery Rd., Ainsdale Rd. – this category covers some 115 plots


Since all existing and pending OMA sites are abas members this means that abas representation covers 676 plots of which 501 are worked by paid-up members of Abas.


This leaves Cat 3 - some 283 plots unrepresented by abas – abas has proposed to the Council that they circulate a standard leaflet from abas to all tenants on sites not covered by abas membership. Malcolm Russell has offered a trial mail shot to a sub-set of sites.


Membership Renewal

Renewal of membership to cover 2016 is now open.

Membership costs 50p

Plot-holders may join as part of their society or as individuals

Membership renewal forms will be available for site secretaries and individuals at the end of today’s meeting 


Future Programme


The August (Monday August 10th) will feature the presentation of the Fairhurst, Greenhalgh, New Tenant, and Rosebowl Trophies in the Bolton-wide Allotments Competition.


The prizes will be presented by the Mayor of Bolton (Cllr Carole Swarbrick). The meeting will start at 8.00 p.m. as usual


There will be cake!


The September Meeting will be a normal business meeting but we will have (we hope) two guest speakers.

Andrea Hallisey Secretary of the North-West Counties Allotments Association will speak about the wider allotments movement both regionally and nationally.

We are hoping (particularly after the recent break-ins) to have a representative of GM Police to speak about site security


The Onion and Leek Show takes place on Sunday September 27th

The day’s programme is

·         Staging 10. 00 ‘til noon

·         Judging 12.00 ’til 2.00 p.m.

·         Doors Open 2.00 p.m.

·         Prize Giving 3.00 p.m.

·         Presentation of Awards 3.30 p.m.

·         Show closes 4.30 p.m.


Trophies to be presented

·         Abas Shield – Class 1 – 4 vegetables

·         Secretary’s Shield – Individual with Most Points in Show

·         Stan Pickles and NVS Silver Medal – Meritorious Vegetable – ‘Best in Show’

·         Bolton Allotments Council Challenge Trophy awarded to the Allotments Site with most points


There are 14 classes overall – details will be spelled out in the Show Schedule, available through Terry and Margaret Farrell (0785 394 9570)


October is a normal business meeting


November will be the AGM and Election of Officers




Members were informed that the Council (Corporate Property / Estates) will be undertaking site building inspections over the summer to clarify the condition and maintenance of “amenity” / “communal” buildings


There was a discussion about ASBESTOS on Council Allotments. While some argued that asbestos if properly treated and unbroken did not pose a hazard, others argued that asbestos is always a H&S issue.

The Committee agreed to seek the Council’s view on this matter.


(Subsequent events suggest that the Council will always regard the presence of asbestos on a recently vacated / to be re-let plot as an urgent H&S matter and that Societies should report any such ‘discoveries’ which will then be dealt with by the Council’s specialist contractors.)


The next meeting will be  – AUGUST 10TH 2015 – 8.00 p.m. at ABCC



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