Present: Sue Jones (Site Secretary), Jenny Howell (Chair), Alex Brown, Richard Masterman, Ray Edwards, Martin Pasek (Operational Support) Apologies: Ian Douglas, Wendy Gunter (Treasurer), Dan Phillips. General attendees: None.
Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.
Communal compost heaps. Work to tidy them is ongoing. Alex proposed that weed control would be needed, and offered to do that, along with such work elsewhere on site. The Committee thanked Alex.
Water trough clean-outs. The Committee thank Gary for cleaning the trough near his plot, and anyone else who might have done this.
Shop. There was a discussion, during which a number of points arose or became clear. Thanks to the cleaning, sorting, and tidying work by Ian, Ray and Richard, it now appears that the shop is in better condition than first feared, and that quite a lot of the stock is useful and saleable. There would also seem to be enough volunteer effort available to consider realistically its operation. Various practical suggestions were made re that, along with stocking, and so on. Richard suggested solar panels to provide electric lighting, and it was agreed that a costed proposal would be submitted in writing, to be put to a vote at the next meeting. AP Richard
Site Secretary’s report. Sue reported that there are two new plot holders, and she will be seeing a further five interested people during the coming week. There are at present seven vacant plots.
The Committee warmly welcome the new tenants.
Sue reported that utilities staff are investigating a water leak, which they deduce is probably on the allotments site. It accounts for some £12,000 per year to the Council’s costs, so it is a serious matter.
Sue said that after careful consideration, she sees no reason for her not to stand again as Site Secretary, for another year, at the AGM.
New Agenda Items – Jenny.
Malicious communication received by Committee member. The Committee were appalled to hear, that a member had discovered a weatherproofed newspaper cutting affixed on their plot, relating to the brutal murder of an allotment volunteer in London by an aggrieved gardener. There was an added message, which celebrated the fact that this had happened to someone who had displeased an allotment holder, and implied that the Committee member could expect the same. It was, therefore, an implicit death threat.
The police have naturally been informed. They have taken the matter very seriously. The plastic cover and its contents have been examined for fingerprints, and they will act on any relevant information which might arise.
The Council take a similar view.
The Committee interpret any threat to any member as one to all, since the volunteer targeted was doing no more than carrying out duties agreed by, and backed by the rest, and in accordance both with PPAA’s Constitution, and with the Council’s rules.
The police would be grateful for any assistance that anyone might be able to give. For its part, the Committee will treat any approaches made with the strictest confidence. If the perpetrator can be identified, then besides facing a police prosecution, their allotment tenancy appears certain to be terminated.
Any Other Business
Land restoration behind poly tunnel – Ray. Ray proposed making a “to do” list to enable work to proceed, including gaining access over the apparently unattended – Sue is dealing – plot to the west. There were suggestions re plant hire and contractors for tree stump removal etc., and Alex also offered to address weed control. The Committee were dismayed to hear that after volunteers and paid contractors had cleared the site of rubbish last year, some plot holders have apparently immediately resumed fly-tipping on it. AP Ray, Alex, Sue.
It costs hundreds of pounds for every visit by rubbish removal firms, never mind the waste of volunteers’ time and energy. Fly-tipping around the site is expressly forbidden under the terms of tenancy, and it is very likely to result in loss of tenancy if the offenders are identified. They may also face prosecution.
There was no further business, and the meeting ended at 2017.
The next PPAA meeting will be on Wednesday, 6th March, at the Butcher’s Arms, Canton, at 1900.