Wednesday, 13 April 2016

ABAS APRIL MEETING

MINUTES OF ABAS MEETING 11.04.2016
Astley Bridge Cricket Club
Attendance: 17 representatives from 10 sites

REMINDER
Please remember our bulletin board
www.abas2014.blogspot.co.uk
And our email
boltonallotments2014@yahoo.co.uk

Minutes of 14/03/2016 and Matters Arising
The Minutes having been posted on the bulletin board, it was proposed (R Maginn – Sapling Rd.) that they be accepted as a true and fair record.

Matters Arising from the Meeting
The selling of produce – The council had been informed of the views of the abas meeting, the abas observations had been noted. We are awaiting confirmation that the Executive member has authorised this as a policy, but believe that societies may (if they comply with the Council guidelines) now proceed with their initiatives.

Allotment Crime
Liaison with the relevant PCSO has been maintained.
Abas is using the bulletin board to keep secretaries informed


Abas ‘concerns’ matrix – essentially the remaining items from the 24/02/2016 meeting with the ‘Council’
Tonge Moor Rd have concerns about stock plots on their site. The Council has confirmed that stock plots are not covered by OMA agreements. If however societies have animal welfare concerns they should contact the Allotments section - resolved
Tonge Fold – D Waring confirmed that Tonge Fold has now received planning permission and the community hut and composting toilets are going ahead – resolved
Rawlyn Road – Rawlyn Rd now have up to date paperwork. They would still like to see a report of the Council’s recent asbestos survey on their site. We have previously been informed by the Council that these surveys are being organised by Corporate Property and the allotments section does not have the information sought to hand.
Shepherds X St – There has been no progress on asbestos removal
Florence Avenue – There has been no progress on improvements to the car park
Moss Lea – The communal greenhouse repairs have been done. The society are still awaiting a decision on whether individual greenhouses and sheds will be allowed. This issue is tied up in internal Council protocols.
Harpers Lane – Harpers Lane has a rat infestation. Promises were made (mid-February) by Environmental Services that a Pest Control Officer would visit the site. There has been no contact since.
Haslam Park – There being no representative of this site present we have no update on the issues at Haslam Park.
Smedley Avenue – Smedley Avenue representatives stated that they had sent an email on November 15th stating that they could now meet the conditions for a simplified OMA put forward by the Council. They have had no response. Abas agreed to contact Malcolm Russell.

Generalised Concerns
No new information from Council on generalised points from minutes

Members reported that they are now receiving Up-to-date Waiting Lists.
Members reported that they have either resumed monthly reports or indeed never stopped sending them in over the winter.
Members will resume site inspections for the mal-cultivation process from April?
There was some discussion about those ‘on probation’.
The abas view is that when a secretary / committee allot someone a plot ‘on probation’ they do so without recommending to the Council that a Tenancy Agreement be issued.
They should state clearly the period of probation (in the monthly report) and the criteria they will apply.
If someone does not meet those criteria, then the secretary should inform the Council (through the monthly report) that they cannot recommend that a tenancy agreement be entered into and that the plot should be re-assigned to a new tenant. Once the Council confirms this, the plot may be re-let.
If the criteria are met then get the tenant to sign a Tenancy Registration form and send it in with the monthly report.

Spending Priorities
The following areas were identified as priority at the March meeting.

·        Assistance with projects to install composting toilets etc. (need to extend toilet provision beyond the current 26 week period)
·        Assistance with projects to improve fencing to improve site security
·        Assistance with projects to install/ improve security cameras and lights

·        Expansion of the self-help scheme with the Council taking a more pro-active role in organising the supply of material (it was suggested that this is a potentially very effective role that the Council could perform)
·        Development of access to plant e.g. mini-diggers (it was suggested that abas assess how much demand for this work exists across sites and if demand is sufficient approach some local contractors to see if a ‘bulk’ deal can be struck. Members were asked to contact abas with the jobs they want doing.)

The question was put that since in most cases the Council have no resources to resolve problems occurring on sites and effectively societies are being expected to undertake a range of maintenance and repair work, where can societies raise the necessary funds?

Abas’ response is that societies will have to be more proactive in fundraising.
Essentially for societies there are three avenues which they may wish to explore.

1.      Setting the level of membership subscriptions at an economic level  – for example where the society arranges collective public liability insurance and membership of the NAS then it would seem reasonable that those costs should be covered by subscriptions. Again it can be argued that the more facilities for plot-holders that a society provides e.g. when it introduces composting toilets it is equitable to ensure that subscriptions cover any additional running costs to the society.***
2.      Running fund-raising events / activities (e.g. Open Days, Produce Sales etc.) which might include seeking sponsorship
3.      Applying for grants (societies are encouraged to join the Bolton CVS (www.boltoncvs.org.uk) and to register with the Greater Manchester Funding Portal (www.gmvss.net/gmfunding) . Societies were also made aware of the National Allotment Gardens Trust – see later)

*** There is a distinct feeling that we are moving ever closer to what in reality will be a ‘self-managed’ or at least ‘self-maintained’ situation. If this is the case we may need to learn from those who have already trod this route e.g. the Leeds Federation and consider replacing ‘subs’ with some kind of ‘service charge’ element.

Allotment Crime

Break-ins and vandalism have been reported at Moss Lea, Florence Avenue, Settle St., Dealey Rd., Sapling Rd. and Tonge Fold and earlier at Shepherds Cross St.

It was thought that the current spate is minor vandalism and theft (‘kids’?) rather than the professional raids for tools and equipment experienced last year.

There is still no movement on any official Allotment Watch but we continue to liaise with the PCSO at the Middlebrook

Funding Opportunity
The National Allotment Gardens Trust (NAGT) can provide funding and advice to support projects that advance and improve allotments and allotment sites. This funding is purely for allotment projects.
To find out if your project might qualify go to: www.nagtrust.co.uk and download the grant applications details.

The ‘Allotted’ exhibition
An exhibition of artworks and writing on environmental and allotment gardening themes is to be held between 30th June 2016 and 31st July 2016 at the neo:gallery, upper floor, the Market Place. The exhibition is supported by a grant from Bolton Arts Forum but other funding is being sought
The title is “Allotted” – a number of plot-holders at member allotments are participating.
The exhibition will also provide a space where abas can advertise / promote the Open Days, markets, produce sales, Site Shows etc. that our members are running during July / August. So please make sure we have the details.
There is a bulletin board www.allotted2016.blogspot.com for more information
There was an enquiry as to whether allotment holders with ‘arts’ interests might become exhibitors. The Secretary undertook to speak to the exhibition organisers on Wednesday 13th April to find out.

Allotment Competitions
Entry Forms for the Fairhurst, Greenhalgh, New Tenants and Rosebowl Competitions are now available from Terry, 0786 393 3064. Terry is posting forms to those secretaries who have not already collected them.
It’s important that all entrants get access to copies of the scoring criteria
Closing date for entries is 16th May 2016
Judging will be w/c 06/06 (1st round) and w/c 18/07 (2nd round)
Prizes will be presented at the Veg Show on 20/08/2016
Posters for the Vegetable Show  were handed out. Terry has additional copies which will be distributed during the Fairhurst judging visits. Alternatively email boltonallotments2014@yahoo.co.uk for an electronic copy.



Sponsorship of Competitions and Show
We are grateful to the Following
J Maher Limited are sponsoring the prizes for the three main allotment competitions
Sponsorship for the Show has been obtained from the University of Bolton
The CVS grant is making a contribution to the costs of both

However we still need individual sponsorship of classes at the show (@£10 per individual class)

External Affairs
Those sites who are members of the NAS should have received an invitation to the NWCAA AGM on 24th April.
This is being held at the Royal Clifton Hotel, The Promenade, Southport, PR8 1RB
Registration begins at 11.00 a.m. The meeting runs from 11.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. with a break for lunch.
NAS officers will be attending to present the ‘National’ case
If you are attending please inform Andy Percival on lawsonrdallotments@gmail.com

You should also be aware that the NAS AGM is being held on 4th June 2016 at the Royal York Hotel, Station Rd., York YO24 1AA

Future Programme
John Wood (NVS) will be giving a talk ‘The Growing of Quality Vegetables for the Table and Show Bench’ at the May meeting of abas on 9th May 2016.

The potential trip to Harrogate Show would be on Sunday 18th September.
Tickets at the gate would be £16 per person. Reductions should be available by pre-booking.
Transport costs would be dependent on how many are interested, but an estimate of £8.00 per person was given. Payment in advance would be required for the transport element. This would be non-refundable.

Any Other Business


The next meeting will be at ABCC at 8.00 p.m. on Monday 9th May 2016.

Revive Compost

The meeting was informed that as we are in a new financial year the one pallet free offer on revive compost has re-opened. The address to contact is JBolger@viridor-laing.co.uk

Harpers Lane plot-holders received a pallet in March and so far are pleased with the results.



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