Saturday, 15 April 2017


Meeting of Abas at Astley Bridge Cricket Club

8.00 p.m. on April 10th 2017

The meeting was scheduled to begin with a talk from Mr John Woods NVS.

Unfortunately a close friend of Mr Woods had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on the day before and in the aftermath he completely (and understandably) forgot his appointment with us. He has offered to come on a future occasion to give the talk.

On behalf of ABAS the Committee would like to apologise to those who came especially to listen to Mr Woods. There was a large turn-out and we were all looking forward to his talk.

After waiting some moments we decided to begin with a Request for Help from St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School. The School is looking for a couple of mentors / advisors to assist a group of parents / pupils in creating a growing area on land owned by the school. If anyone is interested they should contact Charlotte on

MINUTES OF 13.03.2017

The minutes of the AGM having been posted on the Association’s blog site for the required period members were asked:-

1. Are there any points anyone wishes to raise?

2. Can we move that the minutes be accepted?

3. Are there any matters arising / remaining?

It was noted that there was an omission in the record regarding a suggestion as to how to deal with situations in which a prospective tenant repeatedly reaches the top of the waiting list and then says they are not ready to take on a plot. They are then placed at the bottom of the waiting list but at some sites with very short waiting lists they then rapidly come to the top again only to repeat the process. A favoured suggestion was that some ‘marker’ be placed on their file so that they had to contact the Council to say they were now ready to take on a plot before their name was submitted to the Site Secretary. Failing such a mechanism it was argued that after three ‘refusals’ the Site Secretary should request through the monthly report that they be removed from the waiting list.

Matters from Minutes

A copy of the minutes had been sent to the Allotments Section, highlighting the outstanding issues – Recurring Offenders and Failure by Allotments to inform Site Secretaries of BoT notices etc.

As of 10/04/2017 no reply had been received

We understand that the section had an “Allotments Day” as catch up about 7-10 days ago, which resulted in a number of outstanding issues being dealt with.

There has been no further communication from Malcolm Russell or the Allotments Section on matters arising from the Progress Meeting.

Florence Avenue have also had no further communication regarding their car park issues.

In the meantime we urge all member societies to study the advisory notes that came out of that meeting on BoTs, probationers etc.

A draft ‘contract’ to be given to probationers has been drawn up by Sapling Road Allotment Society. It is suggested that this form the basis for a form to be used by all sites.


PROBATIONER’S FORM – to be signed by the Probationer and the Site Secretary

I ……………………………………………………. Agree to work plot ##### at (name of site) for a period of …. Weeks commencing ………………………. on a rent free basis.

If at the end of the …. week trial period the plot has (in the opinion of the site committee) been adequately prepared for growing and is in a suitable condition, then I will be registered by Bolton Council for the tenancy of that plot.

No structures (Sheds, Greenhouses, Poly-tunnels or anything the Committee deem to be a structure) or any livestock, are to be erected / brought onto the plot during the probationary period.

I understand that if/when I receive my tenancy agreement from the Council, I will need to ask permission from the site committee to erect any structures and that any such structures must meet the guidelines laid down by the Council. Similarly permission must be sought for the keeping of chickens and / or rabbits.

Signed ……………………………………………………………………

Probationary Plot-holder

Signed …………………………………………………………………………

Site Secretary


It was also agreed that the correct way to end a successful probationary period is for the Site Secretary to complete a Tenancy Registration Form with the successful plot-holder and then to send that form (attached to the monthly report) to the Council. Site Secretaries were advised to keep a copy of such documents on files.

Current Waiting Lists

The following was repeated from the minutes of 13.03.2017

The current waiting list stands at 483 – this is historically very high

The Council believe it is a distortion due to

1.      The new application system is very easy to use and encourages less than committed applications

2.      The Council believe a number of people on their waiting list were offered probationary slots during the winter – please inform the Allotments section of anyone who has been offered such a plot on your site

3.      There also appear to be a number of multiple applications.

4.      Some people have submitted 2 or 3 applications each for a different site

5.      Some related people living at the same address have submitted individual applications for plots. The Council will exercise sensitivity in respect of this group due to the complications arising from extended families, houses in multiple occupation etc.

GM Spatial Plan

The results from the consultation exercise are now under review by GMC, some 25,000 responses / objections were received from the general public regarding these proposals and the response time is to be extended


We are again organising the Fairhurst, Greenhalgh, New Tenant and Rosebowl Competitions.

We hope as many sites as possible will enter plot-holders in these competitions

Judging will be in June and July (the scoring system is set out as part of the 13.03 minutes on the blog-site)

Entry forms etc. available via Terry

Site Secretaries were reminded that when entering any plot-holder into the competitions they should ensure that the entry form gives that person’s contact details. Also that any plot entered is clearly physically marked with its plot number so that the judges may correctly identify it.


The Show will be held at Trinity Church, Tonge Fold

The date is Saturday 12th August

The list of classes is given on the blog-site

We need sponsorship for the various classes - £10 per class is suggested – the closing date for sponsorship is the June abas meeting – please contact Terry if you or your society can sponsor a class.


It had been suggested that we should hold a photographic competition (on an allotment related theme) to coincide with the Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show. The idea was that it would be displayed in the large space outside the judging hall.

We need help if this exhibition is to be held but we have received no interest / communication etc. about the proposed Photographic Exhibition.

Can anyone interested please contact the association otherwise we will be forced to drop the idea

Grant Funding

Abas has been successful in obtaining funding to support the competitions and show from:

·        The University Of Bolton

·        J Maher

If approved we will seek funding for the photo competition


Could members please advise us of any events, shows or functions that you are planning for 2017 and we’ll put them on our blog page as well as trying to get wider publicity.

Please note that Sapling Road will be holding their Annual Open Day on the 5th August 2017.

Also, Florence Avenue will be holding a Summer Festival on 10th June from 12 – 4.00 p.m.


The North-Western Counties Allotments Association held its AGM at Stanley Park, Blackpool on 25th March.

NWCAA will publish the minutes on their website-

NWCAA can be contacted through the secretary (Andrea Hallissey) at

Terry and Jeff represented ABAS at that meeting, the key points were:

The Competition for “Best” Allotment Site in the North-West – The Dave Cartner Trophy – is being held again this year.

The criteria for judging and entry forms are available via the NWCAA website – closing date 31st August 2017. Sites in the Bolton area are urged to enter.

INSURANCE – There is a suggestion that the Public Liability Insurance held by individual sites should be raised from £5m to £10m

In the longer term Dave Morris (NAS National Treasurer) is looking into the feasibility of Negotiating Blanket Insurance Cover for all members of the NAS.

Members are recommended to seek Competitive Like for Like Insurance Cover.

Sites in Bolton use a range of insurers e.g. Shield and Bluefin. Some sites who are affiliated to bodies other than the NAS have access to a further range of deals.

It was reported that British Telecomm are allocating surplus / unwanted land for allotment sites. Nearest North-West examples to date are in Preston, Macclesfield, Frodsham and Glossop. It was also reported at the meeting that British Rail (Railtrack?) are pursuing a similar policy.

Grants and Funding Opportunities

The NWCAA website gives details of potential funding from TESCO for projects such as meeting rooms, chemical toilets, site and land improvements on the NWCAA web-site (Blackpool Federation has secure £13k so faar with a possible £5k to follow)

Abas believes that Societies (and abas) need to look seriously into future fund-raising since support from the ‘Big Bolton Fund’ / CVS has diminished and is likely to be further cut in future. In addition many funders are refusing repeat applications within a set period.

CVS grant advisors are advising even medium size groups to look at designating a fundraising officer or committee and to make maximum use of e.g. the Fundraising portals that Bolton CVS and GMCVO operate


It was reported that there had been a number of incidents of vandalism on the Rawlyn Rd and Harpers Lane sites. It was reported that following representations to the Police, PCSOs had been regularly patrolling at Tonge Moor and that officers had also had ‘conversations’ with youths on nearby housing estates.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.15 p.m


Our next meeting is on Monday May 15th   this will be followed by:

Monday June 12th

Monday July 10th

Monday August 14th

Monday Sept 11th

Monday October 9th

And the AGM on Monday November 13th

All meetings start at 8.00 p.m.

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