Following the abas meeting of June 12 a series of questions were sent to Malcolm Russell.
The questions and Malcolm’s answers are given below:-
Smedley Avenue had been told by a representative of “Allotments” that they were not to create and let ‘half-plots’. This would seem to contravene previous policy and we shall seek clarification from MR.
Smedley Ave – as agreed with Abas there are criteria to follow for splitting plots. At Smedley Ave there is one plot of 195m2 and one of 192m2 the remainder are 171m2 or smaller, therefore not suitable for splitting.
Abas note: “policy” states that “splitting” must not create plots of <= 125 sq metres.
See also previous abas guidelines about access etc.
There seems a gap in procedures in that when a tenant voluntarily terminates an agreement areas of confusion can arise
By what date does the tenant have to vacate the plot and remove their property – one tenant had claimed that he did not need to do this until October and could just leave his plot untended with any property on it until that date (even though Allotments had informed the site that the plot could be re-let.)
There still seem to be instances when Allotments don’t inform Secretaries that a person has terminated his / her tenancy.
Voluntary terminations – if someone tells us they are vacating a plot we expect that they will have removed their possessions before telling us or by the date they tell us they are relinquishing the plot. If this is a regular problem we may need to re-introduce the confirmation letter we used to send out following notification of termination (obviously we would prefer not to have to do that).
The question of keeping poultry on plots was raised.
As abas understands the new procedures, if someone wants to keep between 3 and 12 birds on a plot, then all the site society need / can do is ensure they are meeting Council guidelines and notify the Council of the tenant’s intention to keep poultry.
One Society stated that, as a site society, they have voted not to allow poultry keeping on their site. On that basis they would refuse a tenant permission to keep poultry.
The feeling of both abas and others at the meeting is that they cannot do this. The applicant is a tenant of the council and it is the Council’s rules that apply, and the Council permits poultry keeping subject to the Council’s own guidelines. Therefore if those guidelines are met the Site Society must permit poultry keeping.
Poultry –In a recent waiting list update one site said that a probationary period was terminated because the prospective tenant wanted to keep hens. I’ve advised them that the tenant could keep hens (although in hindsight that should probably only apply on completion of a probationary period). There has been no mention of the Society deciding to unilaterally ‘ban’ poultry and that would not be acceptable to us. As far as we are concerned the approach agreed with Abas applies.
The Committee were requested to submit a Freedom of Information Request to Bolton Council relating to Expenditure and Revenue on Allotments. This has been done.