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.
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. [Update: please note that this arrangement has been discontinued at all locations on site in accordance with Council rules, and PPAA intend to remove all remaining compost in due course. Would all plot holders please deal with composting on their own plots or remove it from site as our Rules Of Tenancy require – thanks]
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.