Saturday, 13 August 2016

minutes of 08.08.16

Minutes of the Abas Meeting August 8th 2016
Astley Bridge Cricket Club – the meeting commenced at 8.00 p.m.
Attendance: 20 people from 12 sites
Minutes of the July Meeting
The minutes of the July meeting having been posted on the abas blog-site, the Committee’s proposal that the minutes be accepted was unanimously accepted.

Matters Arising
Following the July meeting the Committee emailed (12.07.2016) Mr Russell with the following points
·         Clarification of the rules about fires on allotments
·         Multiple Plots at the same address
·         Bullying and Aggression on sites
·         Mal-cultivation Notices

The Committee also requested that one of the periodic Progress Review Meetings be arranged between abas and Mr Russell
No reply had been received by abas to this email by the time of the meeting

Further on Fires
A comment was posted (14/07/2016) on the abas blog stating that abas did not need to seek clarification as the abas minutes of 12/05/2014 stated that fires are allowed on sites provided this is within accordance with the tenancy agreement.

The commentator does not seem to appreciate that abas is not a rule-making or a policy-making body. Abas minutes (unless otherwise stated) simply record the opinions / advice / conclusions of the Association / Committee / meeting based on the knowledge / information available at the time they are posted. They are not legally binding on member societies, tenants, the Council etc. Also circumstances may change with time. Thus seeking and publishing clarification of current Council policy is a sensible step and indeed is a prime function of abas.
As the Comment also contained a remark about Mr Russell that Comment was passed on to Mr Russell

Much of the Comment (and a subsequent further comment) related to matters that are not the concern of abas.
However Mr Russell subsequently (19/07/2016) emailed Harpers Lane Society about the fires issue

In that email Mr Russell stated that any local agreements about fires can only be purely advisory.
The only enforceable rules seem to be those spelled out in the Tenancy Agreement held by each individual plot-holder. There are however a number of different versions of the Tenancy Agreement in circulation. Mr Russell is obtaining a copy of the version held by the complainant. Mr Russell also wished to check on the wording of the clause relating to ‘causing a nuisance’ contained in that version.

Following a discussion in which a number of variants of the ‘fires’ clause in differing Tenancy Agreements were highlighted and in which the importance of the ‘nuisance’ clause and the role of Environmental Pollution staff at Bolton BMBC was referred to, the Chair requested that Society Secretaries send abas copies of any Rules on Fires that they have.
The meeting then approved a motion by a member society that:

The abas committee (having studied the rules in use throughout the Borough) approach Malcolm Russell with a proposal to form a steering group to draft a form of words about fires on allotments that is acceptable to the societies and Council Departments and which could then be enforceable under Council rules.
On-going Concerns

Moss Lea – There has been no progress on the decision on communal vs individual greenhouses, but the Society has been assured Mr Russell has this in hand. Other issues relating to Mal-cultivation Notices, inspections of buildings etc. seem to be progressing satisfactorily.
Harpers Lane –Neighbourhood Services called (03/08/2016) to say that Pest Control will be in touch about the rat problem shortly. Mr Russell has also promised that the Council will look at repairs to the Amenities Building door.

Florence Avenue – There has been no progress on the car park
Shepherd Cross St – No representative of SCS was present

General – The Council says it’s proceeding with mal-cultivation notices and evictions – the view of societies is mixed. Harpers Lane, Moss Lea and Smedley Avenue all report Breach of Tenancy notices being sent. Tonge Moor reported that some Re-entry notices have been (or are being) issued. However these notices were first asked for some 12 months ago. Tonge Fold reported delays to Re-entry Notices being issued.
A number of societies are concerned that the Council does not inform Secretaries when a notice (at whatever stage) has been sent. This was broadened into a general complaint that the Council does not always inform the Secretary when a tenant advises the Council directly that they are terminating the tenancy and so the plot remains unlet for a longer period than is needed.

Mal-cultivation and empty plots (and the apparent lack of action on these) are key sources of conflict between tenants and Site Committees (usually centring on ‘weedy’ plots affecting their neighbours).
Better Communication between the Allotments Section and Site Secretaries is needed.

At Dealey Rd. the surrounding fence has been breached and there were a number of shed break-ins. There have also been break-ins at Tonge Fold, Florence Avenue and Tonge Moor Rd. The meeting again stressed the need for every individual affected to report the incident to the police.

The Committee were requested to contact PCSO Sandra Furnival at Middlebrook to see if she is still trying to collate allotment crimes.
Any other issues?

There was a report from Moss Lea of two individuals in a van coming onto the site trying to sell ‘generators’. The Secretary had taken a note of the registration number of the vehicle. Other societies were asked to keep their eyes open.
Bolton Onion Leek and Vegetable Show

The Bolton Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show will take place on August 20th 2016 at Trinity Methodist Church, Tonge Fold. Bolton BL2 6BH

Entries may be brought to the event between 10.30 a.m. and 12.00 p.m.
The Show Hall will be closed for judging between 12.00 p.m. and 2.00 p.m.
The Show Hall will then open to the public from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m.
The Prize Giving will be at 4.00 p.m.

Schedules etc. are now available from The Show Secretary, Mrs Margaret Farrell, 13 Romer St., Bolton, BL2 6BG Tel: 0785 394 9570

The Schedule has also been displayed on the blog-site

Schedules may also be obtained by emailing

Terry is happy to provide advice on staging vegetables etc. 07863 933064

The Mini Farmers Market featuring Cheese, Honey, Local Veg and Ice Cream will be open from approx. 10.00 a.m. The Café (run by the Church) will also be available from 10.00 a.m.

Bolton Allotment Competitions
The results of the Bolton Allotment Competitions were now available. A full listing has been posted on the blog-site. It is important to remember that it is only the FINAL judging score that determines the position of the entrant.

1st David Urmston (Sapling Rd.)
2nd Jean Dyson (Sapling Rd.)
3rd Ann Amor (Tonge Moor rd.)

1st Carol Barlow (Sapling Rd.)
2nd Mike & Mary Marsh (Nasmyth St., Horwich)
3rd John & Carol Dainty (Nasmyth St., Horwich)

1st Clair & Kevin Beswick (Harpers Lane)
2nd Jo & Frank Mather (Tonge Moor Rd.)
3rd Emma Beasley (Harpers Lane)

1st Dealey Rd.

The Harrogate Trip
The Trip to the Harrogate Show will take place on Sunday 18th Sept.
This was the “Final Call” for names and monies. If numbers do not improve the trip may be cancelled.

The Allotted Exhibition
The Allotted Art Exhibition has now closed. The exhibition ran for 4 weeks rather than the expected 6 weeks as the management of the Market Place wanted the gallery space back for new paying tenants. In its 4 week run the exhibition attracted just over 800 visitors. The booklet of essays, stories and poems inspired by Allotments, “the back of the seed packet” will be on sale at the Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show.

What’s on?
Events Include:

13/08 – Craft & Produce Fair – Florence Avenue
14/08 – Open Day – Sapling Rd
27/08 – Allotment Society Show – Moss Lea
28/08 – Mini-Show & Barbecue – Shepherd’s Cross St
11/09 – Open Day, Show and Market, Harpers Lane

Contributing to the blog-site
As some of those present were aware a series of comments were placed on the blog-site after the July minutes had been posted. (These comments had since been deleted).
We did not feel it was appropriate to discuss the contents of these comments at this meeting, but we did want to establish some ground rules for contributing to the ‘blog’.
As a temporary measure the administrators have re-set the comments facility so that any comment is routed through a committee member for ‘moderation’ before it can appear on the blog.
Members agreed that this arrangement should be made permanent.

Any other contributions can be emailed to the Secretary who (given Committee approval) will then post them on the blog.
Requests for amendments to the minutes should be emailed to the Secretary and must cite a member who was present at the meeting to which the minutes relate. If members wish to question matters reported they should inform the Secretary who will schedule the issues either under ‘Matters Arising’ or as separate agenda items for the next meeting.

Requests for additional items on the agenda should be emailed to the Secretary at least 7 days before the meeting in question
Abas feel that any items on the blog should relate to matters within the remit of abas.

Abas is an association of Allotment Societies (a Federation in NAS terms)
Abas is concerned only with allotment matters

Abas’ prime concern is with issues relating to the collective interests of societies and plot-holders (primarily in negotiation with third parties, primarily the Council)
Abas may take a role in issues between individual societies and third parties (e.g. the Council) if invited to do so by the society in question and where the third party agrees to abas’ involvement.

Abas may take a role in issues between individuals and third parties (e.g. the Council) if invited to do so by that individual’s society and where the third party agrees to abas’ involvement.
Abas does not seek any role in issues between individuals and their site societies (nor between individual plot-holders)

In some cases above it may be appropriate to involve the NWCAA and NAS

The meeting agreed that this defined abas’ remit.

Any Other Business / Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting is on 12th September at Astley Bridge Cricket Club
Start Time 8.00 p.m.

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