Minutes of Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association – 16 May 2018

Present: Jenny Howell (Chair), Sue Jones (Site Secretary), Wendy Gunter (Treasurer), Dan Phillips, Richard Masterman, Ian Douglas, Ray Edwards, Alex Brown, Martin Pasek (Operational Support), Mike Pitt (plot holder). Apologies: none received.

The Committee welcome the presence and the contribution of Mike Pitt. 

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Rescheduled litter pick. Owing to concerns re disturbing nesting birds, Ray proposed that this would now have to wait until autumn. AP Ray.

Increased notice board space. Ray and Dan have investigated the practicalities of attaching two-sided boards to both gates, so as to be visible on entering and on leaving the site. Their work will continue. AP Ray, Dan.

Shop – Jenny. Sue explained that the Executor has now handed the contents of the shop to PPAA. A number of questions were identified. Should there be a shop operation at all? If so, who would run it? What is to happen about the existing stock? What about the machinery hire aspect?

A vote was held, and by six votes to two the Committee decided that in principle there should be a site shop.

Alex and Ian offered to work as initiators for a limited period, with a view to attracting sufficient volunteers to run the shop permanently on a rota basis. They also offered to do a stock check.

The Committee warmly invite any plot holder who might be interested in sharing this operation to come forward.

Ray, Richard and Dan offered to run up the machinery, but it is not proposed to offer hire until staffing, safety, and insurance matters have been properly resolved.

Sue has had sets of keys for the units cut, and she mentioned that she learned at the CAHA meeting that other sites co-operate in syndicated buying to stock their shops.

Wood Chippings – Jenny. The position is that there are two authorised suppliers, the Council, and Mike Boyer. To avoid a repeat of the serious problems of the past, that is, the car park’s becoming filled with rotting, unwanted material, the suppliers are encouraged only to deliver when the pens are pretty well empty.

It appears that one or more plot holders had been contacting contractors independently, and inviting deliveries from them, which threw the system into confusion. This now seems to have been stopped.

Only the Committee are authorised to arrange such deliveries to the communal pens. Under no circumstances must plot holders do this, and it will be viewed as their abetting fly-tipping if they do. However, they are completely free to arrange private deliveries to their own plots, provided that the contractors are escorted throughout. Once again, gardeners are encouraged to make good use of these supplies when they are plentiful, that is, from October to March. Supplies are limited by wildlife protection during nesting season.

Payments for manure deliveries – Wendy  No one was able to identify a responsible contact with whom to discuss any aspect of these deliveries, nor even to ascertain whether they had happened for sure. The convention has been that a donation was made to the riding school on each occasion, but owing to the uncertainty, Sue proposed that a quarterly donation of £30 be made instead. That was agreed.

Owl Nesting Boxes – Mike. Sue had recently started a conversation on FaceBook about using natural predators to help control our rat population,one suggestion was to encourage Owls. Mike Pitt had responded to this, both my kindly offering to help sponsor an Owl nesting box and by doing some research. The Committee warmly received Mike’s suggestion that these could help deal with the problem of mice and such vermin on the site. Ray mentioned the specified height for these. Ian offered a double ladder if needed. Alex proposed that hedgehog boxes could be included in the same expenditure item. The Committee offered Mike all the help that they could give, and Richard Masterman said he was happy to work with Mike on this.Mike said that he would do some further research bearing in mind his other commitments. AP Richard Alex Mike

Spending Plan Outline 2018/9 – Wendy. Wendy brought printouts. To summarise the items are:

  • Brick cublcle work                                                  £5,000
  • Behind polytunnel clearing phase one                   £1,000
  • Track remediation work                                          £1,500
  • Shop renovation etc.                                              £1,000
  • Wildlife boxes                                                         TBA


Abusive behaviour – Ray.  There have, regrettably, been such incidents recently. The Committee agreed with Ray, that such conduct is absolutely unacceptable, verbally or written,  whether between plot holders, or between them and the general public, or towards Committee members, who are working unpaid on behalf of all.

Plot holders are reminded that their tenancy is at risk, if they are found to have been abusive towards any other person on the site.

Data Protection Act re website etc. – Dan. Sue said that there are as yet no Council guidelines, but Alex agreed to follow general practice, and to issue a group email requesting express consent in the relevant areas.

Gate Left Open – Wendy. There are still occasions when this happens, and Wendy reported an incidence of theft, perhaps related.

All users of the site are reminded that they are required under their tenancy to lock the gate at all times behind them, even if they are expecting visitors shorty, or are awaiting guests to leave.

Fruit tree planting – Ian Ian proposed using the potentially vacant space between the two southernmost sets of cubicles for dwarf root stock fruit trees, and for seed crops of beans etc. for the shop. This was agreed. Sue mentioned that the planting of such trees has always been on the Council’s list of matters for which permission is required, and will soon be added to the shed and greenhouse application forms. These forms will be available from Sue, Site Secretary.

Site Secretaries Duties – Sue. Sue said that there is now only one vacant plot, which will be let over the next few weeks. The waiting list stands at fifty-six. Sue has issued twelve Pre Notice Letters.

There was no further business, and the meeting ended at 2016. The next meeting will again be at the Butcher’s Arms Canton, on Wednesday 13/06/2018, at 1900 sharp.