Minutes of Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association – 1 May 2019

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

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Site Secretary’s report. Sue reported that there are three vacant plots. She has been able to let one. However, she has had no fewer than four refusals from applicants, who seemed unprepared for the realities of maintaining an allotment. Sue remarked that it was better to avoid unsuitable applicants at this stage, than to be faced with dealing with abandoned and overgrown plots a matter of months later.

Sue mentioned that there are a few plots becoming neglected, and that she has begun issuing the necessary Notices.

Sue noted the rapid growth of the hedges, but also that it is now peak nesting season.

Plot holders are encouraged to assist the Committee volunteers in their work, by carefully cutting back hedges with secateurs etc. Power tools cannot be used at this time. We are considering what best to do with the clippings, but most of them can be “lost” within the hedging for now.

Discontinuation of one of the communal compost heaps. Despite clear notices that nothing is to be left on one of the the heaps any more, fly-tipping continues. There was a discussion as to how best to remove the existing material, and it was understood that RCG might be interested in being paid to do this, and to use it for levelling etc. Jenny expressed interest in project-managing this if so. AP Jenny.

With regret, the Committee remind plot holders to add no further material to the heap, but instead encourage them to take as much mature compost as possible, for raised beds, for levelling, or for any other purpose. Again plot holders are reminded that it is a condition of their tenancy agreement that they compost on their own plots, or remove from site.

Raised Agenda Items – Jenny.

Manure Deliveries To Middle car Park – Jenny. A message was received from a plot holder, requesting that the Committee reconsider leaving manure there, as historically once happened. The Committee all agreed to attempt to restart deliveries there. Sue explained that PPAA have no point of contact at all with the Council-operated drivers who deliver it, despite persistent attempts to establish one. However, it was proposed to put notices at the existing pens/gates, asking that manure be delivered here too. Sue will continue to try to make contact. This would occupy some of the space currently used for car parking, clearly. AP Sue, Martin.

If parking should prove problematic, drivers are reminded that there is additional space by the composting toilet.

Accumulation of funds – Wendy. The projects mentioned under this heading previously are still outstanding, and, as and when the volunteer time to organise them is available, they will be undertaken. They include the refurbishment of brick cubicles, the planing of mud from the tracks to expose the hardcore, poly tunnel repairs -or even an additional one – and the restoration of abandoned land to good use. The money is allocated.

Any Other Business

Shop – Ian, Richard. Both have continued work, generally improving matters, clearing, sorting, tidying, painting, and repairing. Richard has successfully tested battery-to-inverter-powered lighting, which showed that a solar-powered charging system would likely be worthwhile.

The Committee cordially thank Ian and Richard for their work.

Plant sale – Ian. This is now to be held from 1000 on Saturday, May18th, and not on May 4th as previously announced. The shop will also be open for the sale of sundries etc., although it is not yet possible to open it on a regular basis.

AGM – Jenny. All are reminded that this will be held Sunday coming, May 5th, 2019, by the poly tunnel, at 1100.

PPAA subs may be paid at this time, entitling members to vote on the proposals raised.

There was no further business, and the meeting ended at 2017.

The next PPAA meeting will be on Wednesday, 12th June, at the Butcher’s Arms, Canton, at 1900.

Minutes of PPAA Annual General Meeting – 5th May 2019

Present

Committee: Sue Jones (Site Secretary), Jenny Howell (Chair), Wendy Gunter (Treasurer), Ian Douglas, Martin Pasek (Operational Support).

Apologies: Dan Phillips, Ray Edwards, Richard Masterman, Alex Brown.

Plot holders: Elizabeth Pengilly (plot 10b), Richard Waters, (plot 103), Jane Williams (plots 87, 88), Alan Coombs (plot 48a), Brian Robinson (plot 53a), Paul Jones (pp Paul Jones and Bob Hughes 24b), Nick Morris (plot 90b), Chris Springall (plot 23).

RCG: Frank Berry

Chair’s Welcome and Introduction – Jenny

Jenny welcomed all to the AGM, and remarked that the sparse attendance was actually, ironically, a good sign in some ways, in that it meant that few people had concerns, or complaints, about the state of the site, or about its running.

Site Secretary’s Speech – Sue

Sue was pleased to report near-capacity tenancy, and a waiting list of about eighty, with a typical waiting time of a year or so.

She reminded those tending plots for friends – whether already plot holders themselves or not – to consider becoming joint tenants. This is important, as it means that should their friend give up the plot, then they can take it over straight away, subject to the usual limits on total area held. Otherwise, they would have no more right than any other member of the public to do so. To apply for joint tenancy, contact the Council to join the waiting list, stating that joint tenancy with the holder of plot (quote its number) is requested. The Site Secretary will then be able to process the joint tenancy forms.

Sue issued her general reminders to all, to comply fully with their tenancy terms. In particular, to compost all plant waste on their own plots, to remove all other rubbish from site, to apply for permission for planting fruit trees (and then only on dwarf root stock) – just as for sheds and for greenhouses – and finally, to collect rainwater from shed roofs.

PPAA Accounts – Wendy

Wendy brought printed copies for the attendees. She confirmed that Dave King, plot holder, had audited the accounts, and that he was content.

Wendy thanked those plot holders, who had transferred their payment method for PPAA subscriptions to BACS, and urged everyone, who had not already done so, to consider doing this. She reminded them also to make sure that their plot number was the reference.

Wendy ran through the proposed expenditure for accumulated funds. The main items being the refurbishment of the brick cubicles, shop development, land restoration, track planing, and the regular removal of rubbish from abandoned plots by waste contractors. However, the timing of such expenditure is dependent upon the availability of the needed volunteer time, to project manage the respective proposals.

Paul Jones asked if there were any plans for further toilet facilities on site. It was generally agreed that these would be beneficial, but as yet there are no plans to add to the single composting one, currently maintained by RCG.

Richard Waters asked about consistency of the Council grant awarded. Wendy explained that the Council apply a formula. It is based on the number of tenants and income from those tenants, so variance from year-to-year is to be expected.

Election of Officers – Jenny

Officers were proposed and seconded by attendees.

Sue Jones was returned as Site Secretary.

Wendy Gunter was returned as Treasurer.

Jenny Howell was returned as Chair.

The rest of the Committee present were also returned.

Jane Williams, Paul Jones, and Elizabeth Pengilly expressed interest in assisting the Committee as volunteers, even if not in being formal members. Their kind offers were very gratefully received by the Committee.

The Committee, being unpaid volunteers themselves, fully appreciate that people cannot render themselves to be controlled by others, and that they at all times remain helpers-at-will. However, there are always tasks, such as clipping back overgrown hedging with hand tools, or removing rubbish as it appears, which can be done by the self-motivated, as and when they are able, and which are always of great value to all who enjoy the site.

AOB

Jane Williams asked whether all significant proposed changes to the site would go through the Committee. In so far as these related to areas within PPAA’s remit rather than within the Council’s, it was confirmed that they always would.

Alan Coombs asked as to the position regarding the problematic, unofficial compost heap, adjacent to his plot. The difficulty is recognised by the Committee, and all plot holders were reminded again, that they are required under their terms of tenancy to compost on their own plots, or to remove waste from site completely.

Richard Waters expressed concern, that increased water consumption might lead the cash-strapped Council to look for future savings in this area. Sue explained that costs had previously been needlessly high, owing to a reportedly serious leak. Despite her requests, she cannot find out whether the recent works have identified and resolved the problem for sure. The Committee are also following with interest the bore hole and pump scheme, in operation at the Forest Farm allotments site.

Nick Morris enquired as to whether there were any plans for tree felling or for crown lifting, to alleviate problems caused by shading of plots. It was explained that this was entirely within the Council’s remit, that the Parks Department is severely stretched, and that this work, although on the list of works, would probably not be done for some years.

Chris Springall asked that plot holders be reminded, that they are collectively responsible for keeping the footpaths between plots free at all times, and that there should be no obstructions at all, to the walk through from one trackway to another.

There was no further business, and the meeting ended at 1148.