Monday, 19 June 2017

MINUTES OF 12.06.2017


Minutes of ABAS meeting held 12th June 2017 at Astley Bridge Cricket Club



Present: There were 19 members present representing 11 sites



Minutes of 15.05.2017

The minutes having been duly posted on the Association’s blog site for an appropriate period and members having no points to raise at the meeting it was moved that be accepted.



Outstanding Matters

A number of issues have been communicated to the Allotments section with little or no response.

These issues were collated and summarised and included in an email to MR sent w/c 05/06/2017



In that email, on behalf of the Committee and members, the Chair expressed our concerns that there is a lack of Support and Commitment from the Allotments Section to Abas and the OMA Secretaries, and that this is leading to dissatisfaction not just with the Council but with abas and with individual site societies.



Members also (in a wider context) feel that the Council’s “there’s no money” response is wearing thin, and that we may need to put pressure on e.g. elected members to win a bigger budget for allotment management and maintenance.



Issues are:

Site specifics:

·         Moss Lea – who hasn’t paid rent and therefore which plots may be relet – it was confirmed at the meeting that the Society had received no update

·         Tonge Moor – query on tenant termination, query on supply of locks – nothing on tenant termination, locks have been provided, no more keys though

·         Smedley Avenue – no response to Monthly Reports – action – two BoTs have been issued and a waiting list has been provided

·         Florence Avenue – failure to keep promises on car park etc. – no change



General Items

·         Pigeons on Plots

·         New Clerical Procedures

·         Procedures on Probationers

·         Provision of Keys

·         The Breach of Tenancy Procedures

·         Plot Splitting – Advice

·         Council Information Request

·         Applicants on Current Waiting List – no reply from Allotments but Rawlyn Rd had agreed with Allotments that the repeating applicants need not be contacted each time



Details of all the above issues are included in the minutes of 13/03/2017 and 15/05/2017



Security issues

It was the general feeling of the meeting that allotment break-ins and vandalism are not regarded as a priority by GMP either the main force or PCSOs. Settle St. have been given a named contact in CID to report break-ins to.



No response had been received to a suggestion that the Council assist sites by bulk purchasing security fencing which sites could then arrange to erect under the self-help scheme. Sites would be expected to contribute to such purchases.



Secretaries seem at present to be resigned to the current situation of regular break-ins and vandalism on many sites continuing for the foreseeable future



Fundraising issues

The council had stated that only fundraising events that were closely connected either to allotment cultivation or local food growing would be permitted. Specifically one site had been refused permission to hold a car boot sale.

General advice is to be very careful when requesting permission from the Allotments section to hold an event

Ensure that there is always a strong ‘plots’ element in the event and stress this

Ensure that you are clear about what the event is, why it’s suitable / needed and how it will be organised / staged etc.



Waiting List

We had been informed that Allotments had issued a waiting list which contained only email contact addresses. This appears to have been a one-off error and we have now been informed that following representations by the Site Secretary concerned Allotments have now provided a waiting list with both telephone numbers and email addresses



GM Spatial Plan

Andy Burnham has appointed a team to review the GM spatial plan with a strong emphasis on reducing Housing Development on Green Belt land. We are encouraged that he has asked the Leader of Salford Council to lead this review as Salford have been active in co-operating with the NWCAA lead on the question of stipulating new allotments to serve new developments.



Abas allotments competitions

Some 29 entries (of which 5 are for the Rosebowl) have been received from 6 Allotment sites.

Judging began week commencing Monday 5th June and the first round is completed.

Second Judging is week commencing July 10th



Members holding any cups / trophies are asked to return them to Terry by or at the July meeting



Abas onion, leek and vegetable show

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 still need sponsorship for the various classes - £10 per class is suggested – the closing date for sponsorship was the June abas meeting – but Terry can accept donations up until the schedules go to print. – which will be very soon.



Members holding any cups / trophies are asked to return them to Terry by or at the July meeting



What’s on?



Ø  Moss Lea Annual Show – 26th August 2017

Ø  Settle Street Open Day 9th September 2017

Ø  Tonge Fold Open Day 29th July 2017 (starts 11.00 a.m.)





NWCAA

The next NWCAA meeting is scheduled for Sunday 25th June at Rusholme

Terry and Jeff will attend on behalf of abas.

Terry stated that based on what is reported at these meetings, members’ problems with Bolton Council are replicated at most councils across the region



Grants and Funding Opportunities

There are 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 far with a possible £5k to follow)

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



Any other business

Smedley Avenue had been told by a representative of “Allotments” that they were not to create and let ‘half-plots’. This would contravene previous policy and we shall seek clarification from MR.



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 relet.)

There still seem to be instances when Allotments don’t inform Secretaries that a person has terminated his / her tenancy.



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.



ACTION AGREED:

The Committee were requested to submit a Freedom of Information Request to the Council to obtain details of expenditure and revenue on allotments in sufficient detail to allow members to create a rudimentary Income and Expenditure statement for their specific site and to ascertain the costs of e.g. water and toilets so that they can assess the potential benefits of water saving and composting toilets.



Dates

Our next meeting is on Monday July 10th and will be followed by:-

·         Monday August 14th

·         Monday Sept 11th

·         Monday October 9th

·         And the AGM on Monday November 13th

All meetings start at 8.00 p.m. at Astley Bridge Cricket Club








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