Thursday, 22 September 2016


Minutes of the abas meeting on September 12th 2016

Astley Bridge Cricket Club

15 members present from 8 societies.
1 apology for absence – Tonge Moor Road

(The Committee are concerned that attendance at the monthly meetings is falling, and encourage all OMA sites (at least) to ensure that a representative attends).

The minutes of the August meeting having been previously posted on the abas blog-site, the Committee’s proposal that the minutes be accepted was accepted.

Matters Arising
Following the July meeting the Committee had 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
No reply had been received to this email as of Monday 12th September or to Abas’ request for a Progress Meeting

Fires on Plots

So far 8 sites have submitted information to Jeff Gibson for use in the abas review of current Allotment Site Rules / Regulations (as stipulated by Bolton Council at various times and in different documents) on fires.

The Secretary was asked to email the remaining society secretaries to ask remind them.

Remember it’s not always “Allotments” who contacts us “Environmental Services” and “Environmental Standards” can also issue edicts.

The Committee wish to make it clear that this Review extends only to “fires on allotment plots and sites”, any widening of the remit will require an instruction from a subsequent meeting.

A member asked about a related issue namely that some plot-holders burn wood with paint etc. on their plots thus potentially contaminating the soil for future and / or neighbouring plot-holders. This member stated that the Council had a duty to conduct regular soil tests to check on contamination. The Committee agreed to check if this is indeed the case.

On-going Concerns

Moss Lea – No progress on the decision on communal vs individual greenhouses
Harpers Lane –No action on Pest Control or on promised repairs to Amenity Hut Door
Florence Avenue – No progress on the car park?
Shepherd Cross St – No information received

The Council says it’s proceeding with mal-cultivation notices and evictions.

Tonge Fold reported that the “Allotments section” had told them that the paperwork relating to a number of instances of mal-cultivation at their site had been filed without being actioned and that the process would need to begin again.

Rawlyn Road reported that they had received no updated waiting list and had plots they wished to let.

Abas is now conducting a survey as to how many mal-cultivation notices have been requested and what has happened.

Bolton Onion Leek and Vegetable Show

The show was an outstanding success – 25 classes and 149 entries. The Judging was by John Woods FNVS, the Trophies were presented by George Holmes DL Vice-Chancellor, University of Bolton

We wish to thank our sponsors – individuals and societies, University of Bolton, Big Bolton Fund (through Bolton CVS)

Cups and Awards Presented

ü  Abas shield (4 vegetables on a plate) – Les Butterworth (Tonge Fold)

ü  Secretaries’ Shield (most points in show) – Jeff Gibson (Tonge Fold)

ü  Stan Pickles Trophy, NVS Silver Medal and Certificate – (most meritorious vegetable in show) – Mrs Mary Wilson (Florence Ave)

ü  Bolton Allotments Council Challenge Trophy (site with most points) – Tonge Fold

ü  Abas Rosebowl – ‘Best’ Site – Dealey Road

We need feedback (email preferred) from entrants and visitors to support next year’s grant bid.
A selection of photos (taken by Jeff) has been posted on the blogsite

Events 2016
The events programme which we have publicised over the summer of 2016 has now concluded
We think it’s been a success, both in raising awareness of the benefits and importance of allotments to communities and in raising funds for the organising societies. It is possible that a short article about “Bolton’s Summer Season” may appear in the next edition of “Allotment and Leisure Gardener”

The Harrogate Trip
Unfortunately there are insufficient numbers to make booking a coach financially viable
The Trip has therefore been cancelled

Abas subs
Abas subscriptions for 2017 are now due and are being collected by the Treasurer (Terry Farrell).
Subscriptions are at the agreed new rate of £1.00 per member
Can society secretaries please try to pay subs either at or before the October abas meeting. Subscriptions (cheque made out to abas) can be sent to Terry at 13 Romer Street Bolton, BL2 6BG.
Disabled Access
A tenant on the Harpers Lane Site whose husband has recently been confined to a wheelchair contacted “Allotments” to enquire what help the Council could provide to enable him to access their plot.

She was informed that “Harpers Lane is a self-managed site and thus the Council cannot help, it’s the site society’s responsibility”. The Society argue that the person is a Council tenant and thus the Council bears some responsibility as landlord.

The Secretary has queried the Council’s response (HL is NOT a self-managed site, there are none in Bolton) with Malcolm Russell but has received no reply. NB Since the meeting a representative of the Council has visited HL to discuss the access problem and potential solutions. The Council hope to do some remedial work asap.

Grants (Access to sites and plots)
Age UK are managing a funding scheme called “Ambition for Aging” which has money to help projects to enable elderly and disabled people to more widely enjoy various facilities. The contact is

According to the rules this money must be shown to benefit residents of the following wards – Crompton, Halliwell and Tonge with Haulgh.
This emphasises the importance of knowing where our plot-holders live (at least for those of us whose sites do not lie in the selected wards).

Thanks to Dave Waring (Tonge Fold) for this lead

Any Other Business
A number of site societies feel that they are now doing work which they feel really should be carried out by Bolton Council as part of BMBC’s responsibility as the landlord.
Although many are willing to do this, they do not feel that BMBC support them in their efforts. Key issues are the Council’s delays in providing either lease or guaranteed usage statements to enable societies to apply for e.g. Lottery Funds.

This widened into a general feeling that the Council are not supporting Site Secretaries on OMA – there is a lack of communication and a lack of action from the sections concerned. The members present recognise that the Council has made a number of staffing and other resource cuts in response to the Government’s “austerity” measures. However the members wish to record their belief that allotments have been ‘unfairly’ treated and that the situation needs to improve.

The Committee were therefore instructed to organise a meeting to be attended by the relevant responsible elected members and the society secretaries to discuss the Council’s position and policies on allotments.

Such a discussion would also cover any possible impacts of the Greater Manchester Strategic Plan on allotment sites within the Borough.  
It is hoped that a preliminary / planning meeting can be held before Abas’ AGM on November 14th.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting is on 10th October at Astley Bridge Cricket Club

Start Time 8.00 p.m.

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