23rd November 2014, St Stephens School Hall, St Margarets 2.30pm
Present: 25 attendees
Apologies: Penny & Stephen Alexander, Jane McFadzean, Lisette Teasdale, Barney King (committee member), Toni Francis, Michael Thierens, Ted Warren, Sue Rolph, Colin McKenna.
Paul Leonard ( Chair), Rosemary Fulljames (Treasurer), Harald Molgaard, Ann Warrington, Yolanda Bloor, Christine Popplewell, Barbara Irvine Paul welcomed everyone to the A.G.M. and showed an overhead projection of the highlights of last year’s A.G.M. He asked for the Minutes of last year to be accepted and Nicole Andersen (Plot17) proposed acceptance of the Minutes and this was seconded by John Sutcliffe ( Plot31)
Paul stated that he was liaising with the Council and other allotment groups about the question of trees. The allotment groups have been formed an association – the Borough of Richmond Residents Allotment Group – that the Council can liaise with. The Council are still trying to save money by trying to get allotments to self manage and by getting allotments to self dispose of waste.
Matters Arising Trees
Work was completed yesterday therefore the Treasurer’s Report does not reflect this cost for expenditure to date. The actual cost was £600 and this covered the cost of halving the height of the chestnut trees on the River Crane side of the plot and also cutting two branches of the silver poplar growing near the Moormead gate. One of the plot holders most affected by the chestnuts has offered to pay £150 therefore reducing the financial burden to the allotment accounts. A further contribution towards the cost will come from the sale of the resulting logs which are to be sold at 20p per log. (This will raise an estimated £50). The question of site safety with trees arose and Paul stated that only if there is a serious issue will the council intervene otherwise all safety issues must be tackled by individual allotment groups.
Nicole Andersen asked if there was any more work still to be completed in cutting the overhanging trees from Cavendish House, many of whose residents had been horrified at how little had been done? No one knew the answer but an attempt will be made to discover what is going on.
Highlights of the year
Two newsletters have been published and well received but more items to include would be welcome either by hard copy or by e mail. Please send these to Christine Popplewell. Via firstname.lastname@example.org
An effort is being made to get everyone to use this as an interactive resource. Peter Mahnke was thanked for his work in getting the website up and running.
More people are coming to the Tea and Cakes / discussion/ seed swopping / advice afternoons and Christine Popplewell, Yolanda Bloor and Barbara Irvine were thanked for making the cakes which were delicious.
Two raised beds have been established in the car park at a cost of £110 each. They are intended for use by long standing plot holders, who wish to progress to easier methods of cultivation. People can apply for these. More raised beds will be sited there in the future with the possibility of applying , like the Bushy Park allotment group, for a subsidy from the Hampton Fuel Charity. Anne Neville asked if those people would have to forfeit their plot – the answer being yes. John queried the siting of these beds as they should be accessible to wheelchair users whilst also leaving space for car parking and therefore suggested moving the wood pile.
It has been found that allotments have the greatest range of biodiversity in Great Britain.
The Treasurer reported that the current bank balance stood at £2060.72 ( the opening balance for the year being £2074.64). This year the Council reimbursed us £255 which covered the costs of Public and Employers Liability Insurance of £183.24 and stationery and printing costs of £70. Income this year has been £169.50 which included £89.35 from the three Social Tea and Cakes afternoons and the balance coming from selling horse manure and compost, the seed scheme and renting out bays in the greenhouse. The two raised beds, designed by Christine, cost £220 and a further £50 was spent on waterproof linings; enough lining remains for further raised beds.
Election of Committee Members
Paul asked for any volunteers to join the committee – none forthcoming. He then stated that the committee were all available for re-election. It was proposed by Anne Neville (plot 16b) and seconded by Peter Sweeting (Plot 20B) that the committee be re-elected .
Carried unanimously. The committee were thanked by everyone for their services.
- Seed scheme : Toni Francis runs the seed scheme, which sells very good seeds by Kings. It is run through the National Society of Allotments and Leisure gardeners and it costs £2.25 to belong.
- Insurance : John Sutcliffe asked if everyone on the allotment were insured and Rosemary Fulljames stated that everyone was indeed insured.
- Composting : Ann Warrington said the communal composting bays had been a mess as some people had dumped large compost items on finished bays but Richie was to be thanked for sorting out the mess. Ann wanted to improve the look of the bays and to encourage responsible composting but volunteers would be needed for that as more maintenance was needed and improved signage. A pit needs to be dug to accommodate the stag beetles. One of the problems in the composting bays is bindweed. Everyone can buy the finished compost (cost is 50p per barrow-load on a trust basis) . The committee members will always open the bays on request – unauthorised access is discouraged as people have dumped rubbish in the past.
- Applicants learning what’s involved : Anne Neville said it might be a good idea to set up a system whereby applicants near the top of the waiting list were allowed to come and help on people’s plot (only by request) and without forfeiting their place on the application list. Richard Wragg stated that it would be a good idea for anyone new to an allotment as then they would know the amount of work involved.
- Plot Turnover : Since the last A.G.M. 10 plots ( all 2.5 Rods) have been let. Each year members of the committee inspect all plots on the site after Easter and again in late May. Following this the Council sent (in July) 4 week warning letters to 7 plots and we contacted a further 4 tenants whose plots were causing concern. 4 improved their plots very satisfactorily, 5 voluntarily gave up and 2 have had their tenancy terminated after final warning letters sent in September. The waiting list is 160 long but most people have put their names down for three sites. When contacted some have moved away or have been given a plot on another site. Those on top the list applied in 2010 so have been waiting four years.
Best Plot and Best Newcomer
- 2014 Overall winner Best Plot – Tara Simmons plot 25b, Highly commended Brian Cresswell plot 13, and Sue Rolph plot 20b
- 2014 Best newcomer – Wendy Carter plot 25c, Highly commended Richard Gray plot 22a Any
- There is an Amphibian and Reptile Workshop being held on the allotment on the 10th May 2015 between 1p.m. and 3p.m.
- Paul stated that there will be a lot of extra Rugby matches for the World Cup in 2015 and the question arose of whether car parking should be allowed in the allotment car park (at say £20 per car)as this would be an easy way of increasing revenue. Volunteers would be needed to man the car park and open it and close it at specified times. The car park could accommodate 10 cars. Daphne Wheeler assumed that the car park actually belonged to the Council and also raised the question of site security. Paul said that plot holders were to be asked their views.
- The toilets need regular maintenance. The Council will do this in theory on request so when they need cleaning everyone should contact a committee member directly or e mail email@example.com or phone 07505668268. A member of the committee will then contact the Council for this service. Paul needs to know what people feel about this as their views can be mentioned at the BRAG meeting.
- Wendy Carter is disposing of RHS magazines and will leave them in the greenhouse for anyone interested to use. She also encouraged others to participate in a similar manner or arrange a give or swop day maybe in Spring.
- Christine Popplewell explained that the recent work by the tree surgeons had left the paths very muddy.
A plot holder for twenty three years has now given up her plot due to health problems and because she will be moving away from the area shortly. She was involved with a wide range of activities on the allotment and was the first Chair of served on the committee, when Cavendish House site became semi-devolved. In that capacity she worked hard representing plot holders for a large number of years. Flowers and a voucher were given to her as an expression of thanks for all she has done .
The meeting closed with Paul thanking everyone for coming. Refreshments were offered.