Minutes of the meeting of 14/08/2017 at Astley Bridge Cricket Club
Present: 15 members representing 9 sites
Minutes of the July Meeting
The July Minutes having been posted on the Association Blog-site and there being no corrections anyone wished to make or additional points anyone wished to raise, the Committee moved that the minutes be adopted as correct. This motion was passed unanimously.
Outstanding Matters – it was reported that having corresponded with Malcolm Russell our response is- (our views in italics MR’s views in red)
•A society had raised the issue of contacting plot-holders.
•Where plot-holders are members of the society the society should have contact details as part of its membership records. Where plot-holders are not members of the society it may not.
•Agree. Whilst the potential benefits of having that information are understood Data Protection does not permit it without the individual’s consent.
•When a society cannot contact a tenant by any other means may they go onto his / her plot in order to post a notice or leave a note?
•Abas advice would be that it depends on why the Committee wanted to contact this person.
•If it was a BoT1 situation then if the Committee has no contact details for the plot-holder then they should proceed directly to a BoT2 request to the Council. (Beyond BoT1 all communication is through the Council).
•For any other reasons we would argue that the Committee should avoid physically going on a plot unless they have express permission from the plot-holder or unless there is an urgent issue of site health and safety affecting other plot-holders (in which case the Council should also be informed without delay).
•(It might be worthwhile getting members to agree that notices etc. can be delivered to their sheds / greenhouses as part of renewing their membership each year).
There was further discussion of this matter – it was argued that in some cases in order to carry out their responsibilities under the OMA, a society needs to be able to inspect the condition of plots. In a certain number of cases this may be impossible from the site roads and paths. It was argued that there should be some system of implied permission to cover this. The Committee will discuss this with the Council.
It was also stated that under allotment regulations anyone wishing to go on a plot must give 24 hours’ notice to the tenant of their intention to do so. This apparently also covers Council officials.
•We were asked what procedure should be followed if a complaint is received about the welfare of poultry being kept on plots – a plot-holder had approached his society saying he has concerns about the health of poultry being kept by a neighbour. He wished his Society to take this matter up with the Council.
•Abas advice (based on past conversations with Allotments) is that any plot-holder with concerns about the well-being of livestock should in the first place contact the RSPCA who are the appropriate organisation to make an assessment and if necessary take action. The only exception would be where there is an urgent issue of site health and safety affecting other plot-holders e.g. dead birds lying around (in which case the Council should also be informed without delay).
•A Society has been approached by a non-member on their site who states that even though he is a non-member (and has refused repeatedly to join his site society) he has been told by “a Council representative” (no statement as to who this was) that as a tenant on that site the Society is obligated to represent him on any matter of concern he may have.
•Abas’ view (based on conversations at past Progress Meetings) is as follows: Issues arising between an individual plot-holder and the Council are matters between tenant and landlord. A Society only becomes involved if and when the plot-holder asks for support / advice in which case the Society takes the role of an interested friend / advisor. The Society may also in these circumstances ask for help / advice / information and / or support from both ABAS and the National Allotment Society (if appropriate).
•Societies are NOT obliged to assist non-members and we would argue should not do so since any action they might take could be considered as not a legitimate part of the activities of either the Society or the NAS and thus they may not (under the insurance and related protections available e.g. through affiliation to the National) be protected against the consequences of any action they may advise.
•Matters affecting ALL or a number of plot-holders on a site are a valid matter for the Society to take up with the Council. The Society may also in these circumstances ask for help / advice / information and / or support from both ABAS and the National Allotment Society (if appropriate).
•Matters affecting ALL or a number of Sites are valid matters for ABAS to take up with the Council. ABAS may also in these circumstances ask for help / advice / information and / or support from the National Allotment Society (if appropriate).
•Abas would also argue that Societies should make it clear to plot-holders that the Society will only act for paid-up members in any matter related to any Public Liability scheme operated by the Society.
In further discussion it was argued that where a Society’s constitution expressly allows it, membership of a society may be withheld from any individual tenant on that site (e.g. for abusive behaviour towards other plot-holders or Society officers).
•We have been informed by e-mail that a concerted effort has been made within the Allotments Section and that the backlog of administrative matters (BoTs, Replies to Monthly Reports, and Tenancy Agreements) as it stood on 28/07/2017 has now been processed.
A number of site representatives stated that to their knowledge some matters remained outstanding.
Abas future strategy
•27 questionnaires have been distributed (we have multiple contact points for some sites and none for others) and as of 14/08/2017 we had received 11 replies.
•Reminders were sent on 07/08/2017
•We are at present analysing the replies we have but need more ……
The Secretary will send out further reminders asap
•Once we have a clearer picture we can start to think ahead
Freedom of Information Request
•Following the July meeting we submitted a second FoI request to the Council.
•In that request we asked for more site specific information and also for clearer definitions as to what the various headings in the previous information actually cover.
•We received a reply on 11th August 2017 –as yet we have not had sufficient time to analyse that reply.
GM Spatial Plan
During a discussion it was pointed out that the new Mayor of Greater Manchester had indicated he wished to reduce the effect that new housing development would have on “the greenbelt”. This might lead to the re-designation of zones for new housing etc. There was a concern that under pressure to meet Government housebuilding targets, there might be a greater threat of infill development on ‘greenfield’ sites within existing urban areas. This might include e.g. green spaces, community gardens, allotments etc.
Abas is part of a collective of the Federations within Greater Manchester which (lead by the Salford Federation) is seeking to ensure the revised Spatial Plan makes explicit provision for the setting aside of allotment land within developments. The target provision (as suggested by the NAS) is 5000 square metres of allotment space per 1000 new dwellings.
We believe that new allotment sites should be sited wherever possible close to the areas where potential plot-holders live with due attention to accessibility on foot and by public transport. There are already difficulties about the distribution of allotment sites within Bolton.
The Committee was asked whether they had statistics showing how Bolton’s figures for plots provided per 1000 inhabitants / 1000 dwellings compared to those of the other Councils of Greater Manchester. The Committee do not but will look into this matter.
Since the meeting, the Bolton News has reported (BN Thursday August 17th page 2) that “a new version of the controversial housing blueprint …. will be published next June.”
Following the publication of this second draft (in June 2018) there will be another 12 week public consultation. Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford, is leading the rewrite.
NB In 2015 the population of Bolton was estimated at 280,400 and there were 959 plots. This gives a ratio of 3.4 plots per 1000 population (or about 800-850 square metres per 1000 population). If we use 2.4 persons per dwelling this gives 1900 to 2000 square metres per dwelling, about 40% of the NAS’s suggested provision for new developments.
Abas Allotments Competitions
•Some 30 entries were received from 7 sites, the results are:
•First, Dave and Debbie Urmston of Sapling Road Allotments
•Second, Jean and Roy Dyson of Sapling Road Allotments
•Third Alan Kay, of Smedley Av. Allotments
•First Mike and Mary Marsh, of NasmythStreet Allotments, Horwich
•Second Phil Woods of Sapling Road Allotments
•Third Mrs Patricia Keenan of Moss Lea Allotments
•Best New Tenants Trophy
•First Heidi Kelly of Smedley Av. Allotments
•Second Sandra Hill of Settle Street Allotments.
•Third David Day of Tonge Moor Road Allotments .
•Rose Bowl Competition 2017
•First, Tonge Fold Allotments
•Second, Dealey Road Allotments
•Third Moss Lea Allotments
•Fourth Tonge Moor Allotments
•Congratulations to all prize winners and our thanks to J Maher Limited for providing the prizes. Our thanks also to Jeff Gibson, Terry Farrell, George Wilde and Richard Hayes for judging the competitions.
Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show.
Bolton's Onion Leek and Vegetable Show organised by the Association of Bolton Allotment Societies [Abas] took place at the Trinity Methodist Church in Tonge Fold on Saturday the 12th August.
The Show with its 25 classes of varied Vegetables attracted over 112 entries on the day and was a resounding success. The entries were judged by Mr Kevin Knowles FNVS of the National Vegetable Society who said that the quality of the Vegetables was of an extremely high standard.
The Prizes for the Vegetable Show were sponsored by the University of Bolton and a number of individual Allotment Societies. On the day Dr Zubair Hanslot, Provost of the University of Bolton, presented the awards.
The Secretaries’ Shield was awarded to Jeff Gibson of Little Lever for the Most Points awarded in Show and the Bolton Allotment Council Challenge Trophy was awarded to Dorothy Kay of Tonge Fold Allotments. .
As part of the day’s proceedings the awards for the Bolton Allotment Competitions for the Best Allotment in various classes were presented.
A special thanks to Vegetable Show Manager Terry Farrell, Show Secretary Margaret Farrell and the show committee who put on a first class show.
What’s On –on Allotment Sites
•AUGUST 26TH –MOSS LEA ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY
•SEPTEMBER 3RD –HARPERS LANE ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY
•SEPTEMBER 9TH –FLORENCE AVENUE ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY
•SEPTEMBER 9TH –SETTLE STREET ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY
•Details of all these events are being circulated through the NWCAA .
THERE IS ALSO A TALK BY ROY LANCASTER AT BOLTON CENTRAL LIBRARY ON 30TH SEPTEMBER (11.00 A.M. TO 3.00 P.M.) – ENTRY IS FREE, BUT TICKETS MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE – 01204 332853 Secretaries may block-book small parties.
•Jeff and Terry continue to be our liaison with the NWCAA
•Minutes of NWCAA meetings are available on the NWCAA website
•The NWCAA also issue a monthly news-letter
Grants and Funding Opportunities
•We have identified no new opportunities since the July meeting, we would however continue to urge Societies to use Bolton CVS and GMCVO portals to look for opportunities.
•The National Allotment Gardens Trust is also a possibility
•The CVS have re-opened the ‘Big Bolton Fund’ for applications –see CVS website
Abas Membership 2017 18
•If we are to continue to be regarded by the Council as the primary spokes-body for allotment plot-holders in Bolton we need to maintain (and hopefully increase) our membership numbers –both in terms of sites and plot-holders.
•Abas subs (£1 per Society member) are due at the October Meeting and ideally should be paid by the AGM in November.
Our next Meeting is on Monday Sept 11 followed by Monday October 9and Monday November 13th which is our AGM
All meetings start at 8pm at the Astley Bridge Cricket Club