Minutes of Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association – 5 September 2018

Present: Sue Jones (Site Secretary), Jenny Howell (Chair), Wendy Gunter (Treasurer), Ian Douglas, Ray Edwards, Martin Pasek (Operational Support) Apologies: Alex Brown, Dan Phillips, Richard Masterman. General attendees: None.

 Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Owing to limits of time, and to the absence of the relevant Committee members, it was proposed and agreed to roll over much of this topic to the next meeting. However, Richard Masterman sent a detailed email, and his main points were:

Owl nesting boxes – Richard has been in discussion with a plot holder, who has direct experience of installation, and is hopeful that a more competitive quote may be finalised shortly. AP Richard.

Shop and power tool hire – Richard has identified viable plant for hire, and sent a detailed list of constructive suggestions for what might be offered by a shop operation, and what would be needed to facilitate that.

However, all of that would be contingent on sufficient volunteer effort stepping forward. See later shop item.

New Agenda Items – Jenny.

Site Secretary’s report. Sue said that there are two new plot holders on plots 41 and 109a. She has also received three notices of intention to surrender plots. Sue said that it greatly simplified their re-letting when this happened, and allowed plots to be handed on before they became overgrown with weeds. AP Sue.

The Committee cordially welcome the two new tenants. On the other hand, plot holders who may be considering finishing their tenancies are encouraged to let the Committee know as soon as they are settled in that decision. The savings in scarce volunteer effort are considerable, and such assistance in those savings will be sincerely appreciated.


Sue explained that recent weeks have been difficult for her, owing to a heavy burden of care for a family member. However, she is willing to continue as Site Secretary until the next AGM, subject to sufficient continuing help from the Committee with her various activities in this rôle, for which she expressed her sincere gratitude. There was a discussion as to what individual Committee members might be able to do, and how this could best be arranged. AP all.

The Committee thanked Sue for her offer to continue.

Sue detailed a particular problem however, which has added to her difficulties. It is that of non-replies from the Council on matters that she has raised with them. For instance, since June, Sue has sent three requests for Notices Of Termination Of Tenancy, among other enquiries, and yet she has heard nothing to this day. Nor have repeat emails been answered. Given that Site Secretaries save the Council many thousands of pounds worth of man-hours each year, the Committee were at a loss, as to why they should be put in such a demoralising position. Accordingly, Sue has emailed the Allotments’ Champion Councillor, Jane Henshaw, and Cllr. Henshaw has now taken up the matter.

Additionally, the Committee politely remind plot holders, that the correct channel of communication with the Site Secretary for substantial matters is in writing. Email, text, or a letter, handed to a Committee member are all suitable. When the Committee are tending their own plots for relaxation and so on, they enjoy a chat about matters of general interest as much as anyone else. However, for any formal business, it would be sincerely appreciated, if plot holders could adhere to the above procedure. Please remember that your Committee are all unpaid volunteers, and with other demands on their time. Thank you.

Any Other Business

Shop – Ian. Ian revisited this topic, to report that he had received some number of enquiries, as to what was happening about the shop, so the Committee inferred that there is significant demand. There have been offers of help too, from a small number of plot holders. When the extent of the available volunteer effort has been properly ascertained, a decision as to the scope of a shop operation – if any – should be possible. AP all.

Hedgehog boxes – Sue. Sue reminded all that these had now been bought, and the Committee assumed that they were now sited. On that basis they thanked Alex.

Poly tunnel draw – Sue.  Sue reminds all plot holders that it is not long now until November, when the draw for the bed allocations for 2019 will be held.

 Litter pick and Committee walk-about – Ray. Ray proposed both of these activities for after the end of the present growing season. AP Ray.

Theft of wood chip and manure – Ray. There have been sightings and reports, of vans being loaded with these materials and then driven off site.

Plot holders are asked to be vigilant, and to note registration numbers in relation to such incidents. The manure is paid for from PPAA members’ subscriptions, for use exclusively by them on site.

Obstructed paths hindering visually impaired plot holders – Ray.

Plot holders are reminded, that they and their neighbours are required, under their Terms Of Tenancy, to keep clear the paths that they share. Please bear in mind the problems that failure to do this causes to others.

Theft of produce – Ian. Ian reported that a plot holder had been identified, acting suspiciously, on a plot not his own, and carrying a bag. He had not actually taken anything at that point however, and left.

Plot holders are asked again to be vigilant, especially at quiet times on site. Try to get to know who is normally where. 

There was no further business, and the meeting ended at 1955. The next meeting will again be at the Butcher’s Arms Canton, on Wednesday 03/10/2018, at 1900 sharp.

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