Association Minutes 9th March 2020

Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association

Meeting Tuesday 9th March 2020

1. Present: Ian Douglas, Wendy Gunter (Treasurer), Jenny Howell (Chair), Richard Masterman, Daniel Phillips, 

Apologies Sue Jones, Martin Pasek, Alex Brown 

2. Site Secretary’s Report

Wendy read out Sue’s report. We have 9 new plotholders and 4 plots still to fill. The waiting list is around 80 and the waiting time around 18 months.

One of the available plots, 26b, has a lot of rubbish on it which needs removing before it can be let. Richard has agreed to have a look at removal along with the remedial works to the road (see below). It is possible it may need to be removed by volunteers. AP: RM

There is a lot of rubbish building up in the sheds. It has been agreed that a temporary solution is to board up the sheds. Wendy will look into this. Once we have a date for the work to be done, we will arrange for a skip to be delivered so that we can clear the rubbish first. AP: WG

It was agreed that plotholders should be reminded of their responsibility to keep their plots clean and remove their own rubbish. Jenny to put a note on the website to this effect.     AP: JH

3. The bottom road

Richard gave us an update on the situation with the road nearest the shop. The contractor has deposited hardcore which he claimed was perfectly acceptable for this kind of work. In fact, the road has some glass and other items which are not appropriate as a top surface. It was agreed that with a suitable top surface, it would be fine to leave the existing material in place. Dan offered to seek the advice of a friend of his who is a civil engineer on the best way forward. Richard is happy to continue to manage the work going forward. It was agreed that at the same time, a price should be sought to improve the road across the top of Llandaff Fields, and along the boundary fence with WJEC. This work may need to be phased. AP: DP and RM

4. AGM and Plant Fair

The date of the plant fair has been set for Saturday 16th May. We decided to have the AGM on Sunday 17th May at 11am so that we can continue to sell unsold plants at the same time.

5. Shop

Richard and Ian have very kindly offered to open the shop on the first Sunday of each month, starting on 3rd May and finishing in September. AP: ID and RM

6. Committee Members

Dan commented on the lack of committee members, and felt that more people might be happy to contribute if they felt their commitment was not too great and open ended. An example was taking the monthly minutes, or showing people around their plot for the first time. He has offered to write something that we can use on Facebook, the website and before the AGM that might encourage new people to step forward. AP: DP

7. Polytunnel Damage

Ian said that the high winds had caused irreparable damage to the plastic covering on the polytunnel. He was happy to do some running emergency repairs to get us through to the plant sale. However he felt that a new cover should be bought and fixed during the summer months. It would cost around £300 – £400. It was agreed this could go ahead. AP: ID

8. Date of Next Meeting

Tuesday 7th April, 7pm, Butchers Arms

Association Minutes 7th January 2020

Annotated Minutes for PPAA Committee meeting, held on 07/01/20, at 1910, Butcher’s Arms, Canton

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

Raised Agenda Items – Jenny.

It was immediately apparent that PPAA are very short of volunteer effort on the Committee to carry out and to manage new projects of any kind. There have been several meetings of late with just a few present.

As a result its activities will unavoidably be restricted to the absolute necessities of plot-letting and related matters at least in the short term. In particular those present expressed regret that so far it has not been possible to update the website.

Sue expressed her wish to stand down as Site Secretary at the next AGM, which means that the requirement for new officers is acutely urgent.

The Committee believe that all plot holders, who value the continuation of the site as allotments should consider very seriously what they might do to help.

Local authorities are ever more short of funds, and cannot afford to maintain sites directly to anything like the standards hitherto achieved by volunteers at PPAA. 

This is against a background of ever increasing pressure for urban development land, and the loss of countless allotment sites to such schemes across the country in recent times. If sites fall into neglect, then that greatly strengthens the case of those interested in changing their use for building or for other purposes. Sites do enjoy some protection in law, but where the council favours a change of use, there are procedures to overreach those protections. 

Site Secretary’s Report – Sue.

Sue said that there are three new plot holders, and four empty plots, two of which will have to be cleared of junk etc. at PPAA’s expense.

The Committee warmly welcome the new tenants.

Email from Richard re clearance by poly tunnel etc. Richard says:

I have spoken with the ground contractor and he is checking the availability to hire the riddle bucket required clear more roots. He will be getting back to me shortly with a date when he can return to site. 

I have also raised a concern with him over the material used for the track and suggested that he should remove a shallow layer and replace with a surface of crushed stone/gravel. Discussions are proceeding.

I don’t expect all this to take more than one/two days and hopefully it will get sorted in the next couple of weeks. Ian has volunteered to assist in my absence.

Any Other Business

Owls – Sue. Sue has had a report of what appeared to be owl pellets near some of the recently-installed owl boxes.

Woodchip piles – Martin. Martin said that it seems that a private contractor is gaining entry to the site, and dumping poor quality material in the pens. The Council were asked to cease this, to enable the backlog to be used.

Plot holders are asked to look out for, and to make a note of the identity of any contractor who appears to be dumping trade waste anywhere on the site. We have asked one to stop doing this, but there may be others. None are authorised to do this at present.

There was no further business and the meeting ended at 2000. It was proposed to make meetings bi-monthly for the time being.

The next PPAA meeting will be on Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, at the Butcher’s Arms, Canton, at 1900.

Minutes of Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association 5th November 2019

Annotated Minutes for PPAA Committee meeting, held on 05/11/19, at 1800, Butcher’s Arms, Canton

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

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Sue mentioned that re the problem with the overflowing culvert, despite the renewed recent very heavy rains there has been no further deposit of mud on the central car park, and the manhole cover was in place. It was assumed that someone had replaced it since the last inspection.

On the brick cubicles, Sue has approached an asbestos removals contractor, and he says that it is exactly the work in which he specialises. He should be shortly giving a quote. AP Sue.

Richard has done a survey, and made a site plan of the areas which are to be cleared of debris, compost etc. However, he is aware that hedgehogs may be hibernating in much of the material, and so it was proposed to delay clearance until spring. AP Richard. 

The Committee were dismayed, however, to learn that a plot holder had been seen bringing a car on site, apparently laden with domestic garden waste, and then putting it on the large pile which has arisen on site!

Tenants are reminded, yet again, that it is expressly forbidden in the Conditions Of Tenancy to bring any waste material onto site for fly-tipping, which is what this is. Cardiff City Council collect garden waste from homes in any case, and so it is astonishing that anyone should do this.

The Council provide no service of waste collection from allotment sites, and PPAA have to pay contractors to clear such piles from limited funds. That is why the unauthorised “communal” compost heaps are being phased out.

Please, as per your tenancy agreement, compost your plant waste on your own plot and take all unwanted materials off site for disposal.

On the website improvements, Jenny said that she and Alex had not yet arranged any tutorial, but she was reasonably confident that given access to the site, from her own experience, she would be able to do what was needed. She proposed emailing Alex for passwords and key facts etc. AP Jenny.

Raised Agenda Items – Jenny.

Site Secretary’s Report – Sue. Sue said that she has had four responses from people considering giving up their plots following last month’s advice, and 

it was agreed that the publicity had been worthwhile.

Any Other Business

Wendy mentioned that opportunistic parking in the turning from the Lime Avenue into site sometimes blocked or hindered access. Sue proposed asking the Council to extend the double yellow lines. AP Sue.

There was no further business and the meeting ended at 1910.

The next PPAA meeting will be on Tuesday, 7th January 2010, at the Butcher’s Arms, Canton, provisionally at 1800.

Minutes of Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association – 1 October 2019

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

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Site Secretary’s report. Sue reported that there were three non-renewals of tenancy and that thirteen Pre-Clean Or Quit and six Clean Or Quit notices had been issued. She had also accompanied the Council’s Allotment’s Officer on a site visit, who agreed with the Site Secretary’s reports.

Important: Sue urges any tenant who is considering giving up their holding to let her know, and to do this on a voluntary basis. This means that they can then re-apply for tenancy if and when that once again becomes feasible for them. Once a tenant has been served notice to quit on the other hand, the Council may not again consider them for any site in Cardiff, should they re-apply.

Sue pointed out the problem with the overflowing culvert to the Officer, who said that the Council did not have the funds to call in contractors again. It was proposed that PPAA hire an inspection to establish the location and extent of the problem.

The flooding from the recent exceptional rains has left the central car park covered in a film of very slippery mud. Plot holders are advised to be very careful.

Raised Agenda Items – Jenny.

Brick cubicles restoration – Wendy. Wendy said that builders had looked at the job, but there were problems, in that no one seemed to want to remove the asbestos roofs, and that the doors are a none-standard size.

Sue knows a contractor who specialises in asbestos removal. It was proposed to clear the site completely of it, and to approach the restoration job afresh after that. AP Sue.

The Committee thanked Wendy for her work.

Website – Alex. The Committee were pleased to see Alex at the meeting, now that the other demands on his time had eased. Alex apologised for the delay in posting minutes etc. on the website of late, and said that he was happy to continue as an administrator of the site, but agreed that it would be beneficial if there were others also in a position to do this. Alex and Jenny agreed to arrange between themselves the tuition to enable her to do this. AP Alex, Jenny.

Ease of location of reference documents on the website was raised as an issue, and Alex said that he would look at this. AP Alex.

Alex also invites any plot holder, who has an interest in photography, to offer attractive, seasonal images of the allotments site, for incorporation into the website, so as to improve its artistic and visual aspects.

Any Other Business

Compost Heaps – Wendy. Wendy noted that these were getting large and out of hand.

Richard proposed that as a digger and truck would be hired to clear the land behind the poly tunnel, that would also be the time to remove the compost heaps and other piles of material encumbering the site. AP Richard.

The various uses to which the resulting space could be put were discussed. Sue suggested returning it to a leasable plot and this was welcomed, not least because it would not require Committee maintenance thereafter.

There was no further business and the meeting ended at 2002.

The next PPAA meeting will be on Tuesday, 5th November, at the Butcher’s Arms, Canton, at 1800. (Please note the earlier time).

Minutes of Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association – 28th August 2019

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

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Site Secretary’s report. Sue reported that, as last month, there are no new tenants, and that the site is full, bar one plot temporarily needed for works access. The waiting list stands at around sixty-five.

She said that overgrown plots were becoming apparent, and that she would be undertaking her rounds for the Clean-Or-Quit Notice process.

She attended the Cardiff Allotments Site Reps Meeting. The Council’s allotments officer apologised for the communications difficulties that reps had been experiencing, but it was unclear to Sue, what steps would be taken to resolve the backlog of outstanding matters.

The CAHA reps said that they were in the process of looking at a rewording of the Tenancy Agreement to clarify some points, and that they would submit it to the Council for adoption. They were also looking at suggestions for simplifying and for speeding the Clean-Or-Quit Notice procedure.

Raised Agenda Items – Jenny.

Grant – Wendy. Wendy reported that this years money was now in the bank.

Brick cubicles restoration – Wendy. Wendy said that quotes were still awaited, but that she was also willing to start tendering for them herself. The Committee backed her, and suggested that a schedule of the specific jobs required be drafted. AP Wendy plus all.

Fly-tipping, trough fouling etc. – Wendy. Wendy said that a plot holder had been apprehended whilst dumping clippings in the centre car park, and that another had been witnessed washing produce of mud in a water trough.

The Committee remind all, that fly-tipping anywhere on the site, or over its boundaries, is a serious breach of the terms of tenancy, and may very well result in the loss of that tenure, and even in prosecution. The Committee is considering what action to take re this instance.

Please do not wash tools, produce, or anything else in the water troughs. The reasons for this are too obvious to need further explanation.

Website – Wendy. The Committee agreed that additional effort was needed to keep the website updated.

Shop – Richard. Richard said that the sale days had been successful, with considerable interest amongst about fifty customers. He thought that a clearer position as to the suitable times of year, frequency of opening etc. for the shop had emerged from the experience, and from his discussions with the customers. Wendy noted that a commendable sum had been received from it too.

Any Other Business

Composting toilet – Richard. Richard repeated what Ian had said at the last meeting, that there is interest among some plot holders, in having these facilities, if possible, towards the southeast end of the site.

Sue and Jenny again mentioned that the Council let plots on the site on the basis that it is defined as one without toilets, and that that those which are charge higher rentals. However, it was agreed that a major problem, as with other proposals, is that with only very few active Committee members, there simply is not the volunteer effort available to project manage the installation, nor to maintain it afterwards.

Sue reiterated her and earlier Site Secretaries’ requests, that plot holders make proper representations for any proposals either in writing to her – preferably by email – or by attending a Committee meeting.

There was no further business and the meeting ended at 1938.

The next PPAA meeting will be on Tuesday, 1st October, at the Butcher’s Arms, Canton, at 1900.

Minutes of PPAA – 10th July 2019

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

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Site Secretary’s report. Sue reported that there are no new tenants, and that the site is full, bar one plot temporarily needed for works access.

However, Sue went on to say that her core site business has come to a halt, owing to severe communication problems with the Council’s relevant staff. Sue has spoken with other CAHA reps and found that she is not alone. Neither emails nor the ‘phone are being answered.

There is a new system too. Once requested, the lists of those waiting, of holders, and of available plots, are posted on a council portal, for the Site Secretary, to access securely electronically. They no longer contain addresses, which can make communicating with plot holders and potential plot holders very difficult, especially if email addresses and/or ‘phone numbers are either unavailable or incorrect.

She has made a number of enquiries as to what the underlying problem is, but nothing conclusive has emerged so far. It was agreed to take the matter further, to whatever level might be required to resolve the difficulties.

Wendy commented, that she too has been unable to obtain any information, as to this year’s Grant – it should have been paid in May.

Raised Agenda Items – Jenny.

Composting toilet – Ian. Ian reported that there is interest among plot holders, in having these facilities, if possible, towards the southeast end of the site.

Sue mentioned that the Council let plots on the site on the basis that it is defined as one without toilets. Jenny added, that those which are charge higher rentals. However, it was agreed that a major problem, as with other proposals, is that with only very few active Committee members, there simply is not the volunteer effort available to project manage the installation, nor to maintain it afterwards.

Security – Ian. There have been reports of thefts and criminal damage to sheds etc. Two youths on bicycles have been seen loitering by the gates, and attempting to follow in tenants. They were excluded on that occasion. The southeast gate has also been found unlocked at times.

Tenants are reminded always to lock the gate immediately after use, both on entering and on leaving, and never to admit strangers. Please be vigilant, and report crimes to the police.

Restoration of land behind poly tunnel – Sue. Sue said that her work to find a suitable contractor to deal with all the issues remains on-going.

Shop – Richard, Ian. The type of operation which would probably be possible was envisaged. It would likely consist of limited opening, say, a monthly Sunday morning during the growing season, and publicised sale days.

Richard kindly emailed a newsletter detailing this, and a list of items for a two-day clearance sale, proposed for the weekend of 20/21st July. It was agreed to publicise these electronically, and on the notice boards.

Email agenda items from Dan – Jenny. Jenny proposed the deferral of these items until a better-attended meeting.

Any Other Business

Thanks to Council – Jenny. Jenny remarked on how pleasant she found the meadow areas project in the park nearby, and was joined by all in thanking the Council for this idea.

There was no further business and the meeting ended at 2010.

Provisionally, the next PPAA meeting will be on Wednesday, 28th August, at the Butcher’s Arms, Canton, at 1900.

Minutes of Pontcanna Permanent Allotment Association – 12 June 2019

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

The Committee deeply regret the absence of Ray Edwards from this meeting owing to ill health. Ray remains in hospital in a very serious condition. We are sure that his fellow plot holders will join with us, in sending him, Ali, and the rest of his family, our heartfelt good wishes. We also warmly thank the other gardeners, who have kindly made sure that his allotment does not become overgrown and neglected during this time.

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising – Jenny.

Site Secretary’s report. Sue reported that there are five new tenants on plots 72, 136a, 136b, 108a and 149b. Plot 9 is the only vacant one, and that is only to allow access for works behind the poly tunnel. The waiting list stands at around seventy.

Sue has received reports of speeding from concerned plot holders, and remarked that the destroyed 5mph signs need replacing. AP Sue, Martin.

Plot holders are reminded that there is a 5mph speed limit on the site, indeed, on all parts of Pontcanna Fields after turning off Western Avenue, as the official signs indicate. Thanks everyone.

Sue said that a plot holder had pointed out that it appears that some allotmenteers have been using, or allowing other family members to use, the car park, for non-allotment business, such as visits to the university. This was at a busy time when parking was not easy.

Tenants are reminded that the car parks are only for visits whilst gardening, and for no other purpose. Thanks all.

Raised Agenda Items – Jenny.

Battery-powered hedge trimmer purchase – email from Richard. Although Richard had proposed a model, Sue reminded the Committee that PPAA already owned a powerful Husqvarna strimmer, and that their series of professional-grade tools was designed so that the – very expensive Lithium ion – batteries are interchangeable between models, and so only one charger – as already owned – would be needed, along with fewer batteries. Sue invited the Committee to consider the durability and value for money aspects of such a model instead, therefore. Martin said that he would provide the information to the Chair for distribution.

Shop – email from Richard. Those present acknowledged the valuable work done by the volunteers who have addressed the shop operation, and Jenny proposed that this de facto sub committee should and would have the full backing of the rest, in whatever they decided to do in this regard, in particular in relation to the matters raised in the email.

Improvements to parkland near to site – Sue. Sue said that she had been approached by interested tenants, as to whether PPAA would assist with the purchase of a bench near to the SE gate, and also with the Council’s wildflower meadow project. Wendy’s comment that use of funds off-site might be problematic was noted, and it was proposed to defer discussion until a better attended meeting.

Security – CCTV – Sue. Sue has learnt from the Community Gardens that they have suffered another break-in. This time their donations box was stolen. She was asked to re-open the issue of whether CCTV installation would be possible. Those present noted that there was interest among some absent Committee members in this, and it was suggested that they might form a working group, especially with extra effort from RCG volunteers, and with funding from PPAA. Further discussion was proposed.

Tenants are reminded never to leave cash or valuables unattended on site at any time, and always to lock the gate immediately after use, both on entering and leaving.

Any Other Business

Noticeboards, planters etc. – email from Dan. Dan proposed increased and improved notice board space, and also the enhancement of the main entrance aspect, by the installation of planters. Owing to the sparse attendance, Jenny proposed the deferral of this item.

There was no further business, and the meeting ended at 1958.

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

Car Parking for Allotment Use Only

A fellow plot holder has drawn our attention to a parking issue, which has the potential to become very problematic.

A car owned by a plotholder has been regularly arriving in the morning, a younger, presumed family member, is driving, he parks in our car park, then leaves the site and heads to the University across the road. The plotholder has then seen the young man returning a few hours later to collect his car.

His obvious fear, and one we share, is that our car parksing space could be seen as free parking for people working at/attending the University. Keys get cut and more people take advantage of the situation, and eventually we are log jammed with cars not on allotment business.

Therefore may we just remind people that parking on site is for the use of people on allotment business only. The relevant car number has been taken, and we are aware of the plot holder to whom it belongs. If this is the case and parking has been used in this manner,as it would appear, I trust that they will be reasonable and respect the council rules on this matter.

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.