Minutes for PPAA Working Group Meeting held 15th Sept 2022 at 19:00 by Zoom regarding Plot Maintenance.

Present:  Richard Masterman (Chair), Jenny Howell, Sue Jones, Dan Philips, Alan Coombs, Wendy Gunter (Treasurer)

Apologies: None

Introduction:

  • Richard explained the meeting was convened to specifically review progress with regard to poorly cultivated plots.

Plots under observation

  • Jenny, Sue and Richard had identified many plots that were in poor condition in contravention of the Council’s tenancy agreement. These had been recorded by dated photographs and, after discussion by the full committee and in accordance with Council instructions, Pre-Notice letters and emails had been issued to associated plot holders advising that they were on notice to provide a valid reason for non-cultivation or start clearance work within a two-week timeframe or a Notice of Non-Cultivation (formerly Clear or Quit) would be issued. 
  • Jenny reviewed the schedule and the responses received to date were discussed. Responses included valid reasons for non-cultivation, significant improvements commenced, plot returned to the Council for re-allocation from the waiting list and no response.
  • Plots where a Non-Cultivation Notice would be issued were identified and notices would be issued forthwith.
  • Summary

i) 31 Pre-notice emails/letters issued

ii) 17 plot holders to be issued with Non-cultivation Notices

iii) 7 plots returned for re-letting

iv) 7 plots with significant improvement


Vacant Plots

  • Dan reported that the plot holder he had approached had offered his services to carry out preliminary clearance of some overgrown plots and he would arrange for a couple of sample plots to be undertaken to confirm the scope of work. 
  • If satisfactory a schedule of plots which are vacant and in seriously bad condition would be provided.
  • Wendy reiterated her requirement for adequate records and invoicing.

New Lets

  • Sue had Undertaken site viewings with prospective plot holders from the waiting list and had confirmed several new tenants with the Allotment Officer.
  • Sue reported the following figures: (i) 12 plots let to new tenants (ii) 5 plots now ok to offer (iii) 6 plots requiring work before being offered  (iv) 4 viewings were due.
  • Sue reported that the Allotment Officer was currently undertaking a detailed review of all waiting lists which had dramatically increased during the Covid restrictions.

Ground cover

  • Richard reported that 2 new rolls of 3.3m width ground cover membrane had been ordered and delivery expected shortly.
  • Sue advised that 68m of the existing roll had been sold.

Any other business

  • None

Next meetings

  • Committee meeting 19:00 Tuesday 11th October 2022. Zoom or venue to be agreed.

Western Avenue gate lock repaired.

The Lock on the Western Avenue Gate became difficult to use yesterday afternoon – Tuesday, Sept 20th – due to part of the mechanism breaking off internally through wear and tear. This has now been replaced and the lock is working normally. 

The lock was only a few months old, but the gate design means that people have very little room to turn the key from the inside of the gate – it’s been an on-going nag – and so it ends up forcing the key over to the left as one’s hand fouls on the metalwork. PPAA Committee will seek professional metalworking help in modifying the gate design to allow proper access to turn the key, and hopefully, to end this recurring issue.

Weed suppressant black fabric now back in PPAA shop!

The site shop operators are pleased to tell everyone that this delivery has now arrived.

With summer’s end, many plot holders will be leaving part at least of their gardens crop free, and this is an excellent way of saving tiresome weeding for when they come to start again next season.

The woven fabric comes in a 3.3m width and will currently be sold at cost of £2.00 per metre length.

To order, the buyer should use the contact page, and they will receive an email reply with the price and the PPAA BACS details for payment if they agree. Volunteer(s) will deliver it to their plot – so they should always give their plot number!

This item is repeated on the shop page.

…and, business is booming…

Orders ready for delivery to plots.

Minutes for PPAA Committee Meeting held on 30th August 2022 on site at 18:00

In response to the matters raised at this meeting this page and this page have been added to the website.

Present:  Richard Masterman (Chair), Jenny Howell, Sue Jones, Dan Philips, Alan Coombs

Apologies: Wendy Gunter (Treasurer)

Previous Minutes:

  • Matters arising from Committee meeting 8th August 2022 to be addressed as agenda items.

Chair Report

  • Items addressed in Any Other Business

Site Representative 

  • In the absence of an appointed Site Representative other committee members have undertaken immediate matters and have continued addressing PPA issues including responding to plot holder Gmail queries, plot inspections and waiting list review.
  • Sue is in regular contact with the Allotment Officer to maintain continuity of communication.
  • Richard volunteered that after a short time on leave he would take on the role and it was agreed that, with the assistance of other committee members, a more inclusive approach would be adopted to ease the burden on the Site Representative.

Council matters

  • It was noted that the Council’s reference to the Clear or Quit notice had been revised to a Non-Cultivation notice.

PPAA matters

  • Items addressed in AoB.

Treasurer’s report

  • Nothing additional to report from previous meeting

Any Other Business

Overgrown plots:

  • The Committee had previously resolved to address the poor state of some plots and have continued the implementation of the Council’s Non-Cultivation policy.
  • Many plots have been identified as in poor condition and are heavily overgrown.  Pre-Notice Warning of Non-Cultivation correspondence has been issued to the respective plot holders and follow up inspections will take place.
  • Richard and Jenny have kept a schedule of plots under observation which will be regularly reviewed and updated prior to each committee meeting. The Committee will then regularly monitor progress towards correct cultivation.
  • The inspections together with information received from the Allotment Officer revealed that several of the overgrown plots are vacant and Sue volunteered to begin the process of re-letting these.
  • The Committee agreed to approach a plot holder who has previously offered their services to strim/brush cut overgrown areas to enquire if there is an interest in further work to speed up the backlog of overgrown vacant plots.
  • The Committee agreed to make available at cost the ground cover membrane held in the PPA shop to plot holders as a temporary measure whilst clearance and cultivation progress. The cover would be returnable to the shop if still in good condition.
  • The current waiting list is large and as vacant plots are offered to new prospective tenants’ consideration will be given to dividing whole plots in to “a” and “b” half plot size.

Manure

  • Sue has made enquiries with regard to manure delivery and reported that the stables are very keen to continue the supply but they have no means of transportation. Parks Department have previously delivered but this service is now withdrawn.
  • Manure remains free to plot holders who are able to collect.
  • Sue is making further enquiries with Parks Department to see if further deliveries are possible.
  • It was suggested that an enquiry could be made to plot holders via the website blog to see if anyone has access to suitable machinery to assist.

Communications

  • Dan has instigated a sub-group to rationalise and improve communications and dissemination of information to plot holders. Work is progressing with a report anticipated for the next committee meeting.

Next meetings

  • A review of the Pre-Notice Warning notifications 19:00 Thursday 15th September 2022 by Zoom.
  • Committee meeting 19:00 Tuesday 11th October 2022. Zoom or venue to be agreed.