29th November 2015, St Stephen’s School Hall, St Margarets 2.30pm

  • Present: 24 Attendees
  • Apologies: Barney King (Plot 19), Yolanda Bloor (22), Judith Folkes (10), Ken Drury (35), Julie CollinsWood (32b)

Minutes of the 2014 Cavendish Allotments AGM

One amendment was determined, namely that the compost from the composting bay is free. (Recorded under Regular Features – Composting).

The minutes were then accepted with Nicole Anderson proposing and Penny Alexander seconding.

Best Plot Awards: The plots were viewed on the screen.

  • Best plot: Sue Rolph and Peter Plot 20B.
    • Highly commended (two): Wendy Carter Plot 25c Ted Warren Plot 29 Paul explained why there is a category to inspire new plotholders.
  • Best newcomer (last 18 months): Kate Saxby and Tim Spier Plot 6c.
    • Highly commended newcomer: Tom and Sara Silverman Plot 13b.

Chair’s Report.

Paul fed back from BRAG (Borough of Richmond Allotments Group) meetings that he and Rosemary have attended. BRAG is now recognised by the Council as a voice from the sites.

He ran through items that BRAG has for discussion with the Council.

  • Tim Gough is stepping down as Chair.
  • There are different levels of service provided by the Council to different sites.
  • The Council has still not provided “their vision” for borough allotments for 2015 – 2020.
  • (2015/20 Council Allotment Strategy). Some council services will be shared with LB of Wandsworth, will Allotments be one of these? There is a need to review Council policy for provision of more allotment sites.
  • There are different arrangements on different sites for bonfires.There is a possibility that the Council may make further restrictions.The Council record the number of times they have been contacted over incidents. It appears that many of these reports are from the same person. There will be further discussion on this issue.
  • BRAG suggests that there should be an increase in the deposit on keys as many are not returned.
  • BRAG is keen to set up a website funded by the Council. (Thanks are due to Peter Mahnke for the Cavendish website and to Christine Popplewell for the newsletter.)

There was a comment from the floor re bonfires and protecting hedgehogs from the floor (ref letter in Telegraph).

Treasurer’s Report

Balance at November 2014 stood at £2,060.72 This year the Council reimbursed us £265.76. (£199.47 for insurance which covers public and employer’s liability plus £66 for stationery).

We spent £600 on tree pruning, £150 of which was contributed by a grateful plotholder.

A new incinerator for communal use cost £40.

Over £200 was made from 4 social events, sale of second hand tools and furniture, bags of compost, horse manure, logs and plywood, renting bays in the greenhouse and the seed scheme.

The bank balance now stands at £1907.68 This is £153 lower than a year ago but as we spent £600 on tree pruning we have done well to recoup £450 of this.

Election of Committee Members

The Constitution says there can be a total of 9 Committee members but that additional members can be coopted. Ted Warren has been coopted during 2014/2015.

Paul asked if anyone was interested in standing.

The present committee stood down but were willing to continue: Paul Leonard (Chair of meetings), Rosemary Fulljames (Treasurer), Barney King (who has agreed to stand as Secretary), Barbara Irvine, Ann Warrington, Christine Popplewell, Harald Molgaard, Yolanda Bloor This was agreed, proposer Michael Thierens, seconder Nicole Anderson.

Ted Warren was proposed as 9th Committee member by Lisette Teasdale , seconded by Nicole Anderson.

Ted has extensive experience and knowledge including 5 years training. He offered help as a horticultural facilitator, primarily aimed at newcomers or any with difficulties. Often starters come full of enthusiasm and then their plot overtakes! He can offer advice on membranes, rotation and planning. Ted brought examples of membranes to keep water off in winter.

A suggestion from the floor was that perhaps he could run a course or give advice via NL.

If plot holders have particular problems e.g. with pests or diseased plants he might be able to troubleshoot.

Regular features

  • Seed scheme
    This is run by Toni Francis, selling very good seeds by Kings. It is run through the NSALG and costs £2.50 for membership until end of 2015, increasing to £2.75 from 1st January 2016.
  • Horse manure
    This is still available by the gate in the car park at 50p a barrow load.
  • Wood chip
    There have been no new deliveries and it is not certain they are needed at present. As dumping has occurred on other allotment sites, accepting “deliveries” for other plotholders is discouraged. If one of the committee has arranged a delivery you can be sure they will be there to receive it. (There was concern raised re dumping of garden material in the car park by the next door neighbour, raised by 2 plotholders. Paul said this is ongoing and agreed to try to resolve this amicably after a mandate from the AGM. It was suggested the material should be thrown back and/or have Council involvement).
  • Plot turnover
    10 × 2.5 rod plots (Half plots) have been let this year. 4 further are now available. Sadly the Harringtons(Plot 24a which they have worked since 1987) have had to give up due to ill health. A card was available for signing by those who wished.
    • It was reported that as Anne Neville gives up her plot, the next on the list was asked to overlap with her to help and become familiar with it. This has been a success.
      • Communication is via a notebook kept in the shed on the plot.
  • Communal composting bays
    • There have been 3 working parties in September/October.
    • Unfortunately non compostable material is still being dumped on top of the coverings.
    • There will be open days to accept waste and take compost. There needs to be a coopted member to oversee the area. Will take out first bay to give a bigger area.

Any other business

  1. Kew NL:Sue Vernon (Plot 18) told the meeting that she has registered with the Kew NL Wild Flower Campaign. She has ordered 10 Grow Wild kits for sharing which will be arriving in March.
  2. Bees: Greg, a beekeeper on Brook Road offered a talk on bee keeping. It was suggested that this could take place at a social next year.
  3. Apples: Lisette Teasdale (Plot 14b) suggested the purchase of fruit pickers ladders for lopping and picking.
  4. Raised beds in car park: Nicole asked whether anyone had wanted them? The committee replied not yet but that a good crop of potatoes had been grown this year.
  5. Plots not worked: Anne Neville asked what action was taken. Rosemary explained that following Easter plots are inspected through May, June and July and plotholders are contacted if there is no evidence of work. Then if neccessary the Council can send warning letters and then notice to quit. Some give up when the rent is due if they have not progressed. Paul checks in May to ensure all tenants have paid.
  6. Concrete paths: Wendy said plotholders are allowing growth over the paths or are leaving ‘stuff’ which blocks access, even leaving earth there. It was suggested that there is a bit of a drive to ensure access on all paths. Action via the website, newsletter or email.
  7. Toilet: It was noted that the toilet has been cleaned. There was a vote of thanks.
    Rosemary explained that the unit was changed by the Council, on request. Michael Thierens said that there is a tap by the toilet, specifically put there when the new water system was installed. This was to enable a full flushing toilet to be installed in the future as there is also a prepared sewer connection. Paul will ask Pete Lewis (Council) about the possibility of this.
  8. Greenhouse: Bays in the greenhouse can be rented at £5 a year.

The meeting closed with Paul thanking everyone for coming. Refreshments were offered.