St Mary’s Allotment Association
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
Held St. Mary’s Church Hall, 2nd December 2013
PRESENT R.Webb J.Layton K. Rourke
P.Betts M.Ferrante K.Fryer P.Fryer
G.Simms D.Dawkins N.Briggs B.Layton
C.Aston-Layton J.Sheridan J.Saw B.Welsby
P.Stocker R.Harvey R.Rourke J.Edwards
S.Reeve D.Kelly D.Bradley R.Checkley
R.Hague D.Dilworth L.Wood E.Alcock
E.Sparkes J.Williamson C.Pearson K.Bugg
G.Bugg T.Naylor P.Ralph T.Archer
A.Hewitt P.Fisher J.Blows
APOLOGIES H.Bagga P.Broad L.Pride
J.Hoftein A.Holmes J.Naylor N.Bond
The meeting opened at 7.30pm.
As president Bob Webb opened the meeting with a short speech saying he was resigning from the association and giving up his plots.
Bob thanked the committee for all the fundraising over the last few years. Over the years since he started in 1968 he had been Treasurer, Secretary, a Trustee and President and also mended gates and welded locks along with other maintenance but due to health problems felt it was time he gave up.
Jim Layton as Chairman thanked Bob and presented him with a bottle of whisky and box of chocolates for his wife as a token of gratitude for the many years he has supported the allotment association.
Bob then asked if he could stay for the rest of the meeting or should leave and he was invited to stay.
Jim then said welcome to the plot holders and gave them time to read last year’s Minutes.
After this he asked for any Matters Arising and none were raised.
The Minutes were proposed as being accurate by Bob Webb and seconded by G. Simms
The Chairman’s Report: Jim said we had raised 10% more this year than last year but were looking for ideas for further fund raising. Perhaps a quiz would be a good idea.
Last year we tried to consolidate improvements from the previous year. We also welcomed two new members to the committee, Jo Blows and Jak Sheridan.
- The new year began with floods which stayed until March. After March the site was dry. The site has a high water table and drainage needs looking at. Some plots need topsoil but the cost is prohibitive. We looked at drainage and a local farmer was willing to help create better ditch drainage. Martin Carty the company we gave permission to bring grass cuttings and Leaves on site offered us four days labour on the site in return for the permission.
- The car park has pot holes and earlier in the year we spent 45 minutes trying to negotiate with a road construction man who offered a load of scrapings but could not give us a price. We gave up and said no thanks. Gordon Simms is not talking to someone else who may be able to help. We await developments. The main road on the site has pot holes and Jim has been in touch with Seven Trent as they are responsible for the road.Paths have been slippery and dangerous but most of this year has been drier and they were generally better. Dave Dilworth, Pete Betts and Paul Fryer offered to strim round plots for people who were unable to do it themselves and return for a £5 donation to association funds.
- The Spring Sale went well but we need more plants donated.
- The new hut was established in February. We got a second hut for storage and only three keys exist for this one. Dave is now building a patio with a roof on the side of the storage hut at minimum cost to the association.
- The new web site is up and running and also the new news letter.
- We will be having a Planning Meeting on the 9th February to plan the coming year to see what we can afford to do, develop on site and any maintenance needed. We input need from plot holders The giving us their ideas.
The year gave us a cold spring, everything was late. The weather was terrible but later in the year crops were great and we had a good year. Sadly John Griffin who had been an active committee member has died and his funeral is tomorrow 3rd December. The committee would like to offer condolences and grateful thanks to the family for John’s time on the committee. We now have a selection of photographs to show. During the year the water supply was laid on to the hut, the old wooden hut was demolished(it was erected in 1998/99) by 3 members and Jak Sheridan. The new hut was set in position. We had an allotment stand in the Parish Church with history of the site, photographs and produce on display. Thanks to all who helped. Pauline Pears came to the site and gave a talk on organic gardening to help bees and insects.
The Mikron Theatre came and performed Beyond the Veil which was very well attended (150) and managed to finish just before it became too dark. They have now been twice and have agreed to come back next year. we had lots of help putting up the tent from multi races. Tea, coffee, cakes and pacoras were sold and raised funds. We had a best new gardener prize and runner up prize. There have been problems with the manure deliveries causing damage to paths / tracks.
We received a grant to build a pond but the site proposed was not suitable so we will need to give the grant back. Glebe Place – we are applying to get a grant to improve the old gate in a suitable style. Next week hedging and ditching work will be done by Martin Carty’s men.
Gordon Laking who has been trialling the bee hives on site said it had been a difficult year. The bees had a hard time, it was a hard winter but they survived and produced 6 jars of honey. This was a trial year and Gordon will be pleased to continue next year so we will need to take a vote on whether to allow the bees to stay. Only registered bee keepers are allowed to have bees, and only on permitted sites.
The Treasure’s Report: Nigel Briggs told the meeting the accounts have all been signed off as correct by John Holmes. He also pointed out that many new members to the association have been surprised that the rent per plot is £30 a year not per month. Nigel also wished to thank Lesley Campbell our Lettings Officer for her efforts in re-letting plots promptly. Thank you to the members who pay the yearly rent promptly, the late payment being increased last year to £20 has had a really beneficial effect, only 6 people were late payers this year.
Our accounts are balanced and we are happy the Diocese has not increased the site rental for several years. Nigel had issued a copy of the account, see separate sheets and Tim Naylor queried the final amount of £738.14 in the Barclays and Nationwide accounts. Nigel explained we have no real reserves left and need very careful management of the finances for the site to try and build up the reserve of funds in the bank to cover maintenance and any improvements before we can go ahead. The Co-op Reserve account covers the cost of closing the site if we had to pay I years rent to the Diocese.
Jim thanked Nigel for his efforts, also John Holmes for the checking the accounts and verifying them.
Lettings Report: Lesley Campbell is away in Australia at the moment and Jo Blows has kindly agreed to present the report. During the year we had 36 new lets, 5 additional plots to existing members (3 were river plots let by ballot). 5 members exchanged plots and 3 plots had additional members added on. The Lesley can be contacted via the email, phone or site visit to go on the waiting list. See report sheet for full details.
Jim then thanked Jo for standing in and Lesley for her year of hard work which has been efficient and fair.
Jim then asked the meeting to accept the accounts for the year .
Ellen Alcock proposed acceptance and Dave Dilworth seconded the motion.
Re-Election of Committee Members
Due for re-election and willing to stand again.
Jim Layton : Proposed by Miles Ferrane : Seconded by Robin Rourke
Nigel Briggs: Proposed by Tim Naylor : Seconded by Darren Kelly
Gordon Simms: Proposed by Jenny Edwards : Seconded by Jak Sheridan
Pete Betts : Proposed by Dave Dilworth : Seconded by John King
John King : Proposed by Gordon Simms : Seconded by Brenda Layton
At this point Bob Webb pointed out only three committee members should be due for re-election each year. Kate as secretary said she was unaware of this and had tried to sort out who was due for election from the pink sheet she took over from Lin when she resigned. Jak said it should be found by checking back over the previous AGM minutes. Kate apologised for not realising and will check the records.
Election of Officers
President – Gordon Simms Proposed by Barry : Seconded by Jak Sheridan
Chairman – Jim Layton Proposed by Jo Blows :Seconded by Robin Rourke
Vice Chairman- Harj Bagga Proposed by Barry : Seconded by John King
Treasurer- Nigel Briggs Proposed by Suzy Reeve : Seconded by Brenda Layton
Jim then closed the election of members and officers as completed.
Jak Sheridan asked for a vote for new members as we have two vacancies on the committee. Jim explained the committee had raised getting new members at a monthly meeting and we had minuted that all vacancies be advertised in the news letter and nominations must be put in writing in advance. This is the normal procedure for most committees and allows members to be notified in advance and scrutinise possible candidates before election. This is a fair balanced way of elections. Jak did not agree and felt previously it had been done on the night without prior notice. The discussion continued and Tim Naylor proposed future years should be written nomination but possibly allow this year to vote now. It was pointed out Jak was at the meeting when the clarification for voting was discussed and voted on. It should not be overturned. Tim then suggested we had a vote whether to stick to the written nominations or vote on the night this year and then go over to written nominations in future. A vote was held.
A for written nominations.
B for voting now.
The vote was A 30 : B 5
The proposal to vote on the night was not carried.
New members can be co-opted during the year and be up for election the following AGM. They must have been a member of the association for at least one year prior to standing for election or being co-opted. We have been actively canvassing for new members All future members will be nominated at least 2 week priors to the AGM to allow other members to be made aware of the vote and to stand against any nomination they wish to.
Bees The initial 12 month trial has been a success and we need to vote whether to allow the bees to remain on site. They are only allowed under controlled circumstances on a special site with a qualified bee keeper, no problems have occurred and the committee propose we vote to allow the bees to remain.
Vote taken and carried.
Use of association water : Peter Stoker Plot B21
I want to propose that all plot holders who do not have the means to collect and store rainwater on their plots, should have an additional £5 per annum added to the normal rent fees. The reason for this proposal is because on a number of occasions during dryer periods water has not been available to carry out essential watering because of the selfish activities of one plot holder who with the help of family has not only emptied the bath local to my plot but also drained every other water point in the area. I find this totally unacceptable. This has happened on a good number of occasions and forced myself to bring water in containers from home because none was available on the allotments. I would add that I only use the associations water when my own water butt has run dry.
The meeting discussed the proposal and several felt it would be difficult to enforce, partially due to the difficulty with plot numbers and the amount of paperwork involved. Some members do not have a shed or greenhouse so would be hard put to collect water and should not be penalised for not having the means to do so. Emma suggested trying to provide water butts at reasonable prices. Jim said John Griffin had been doing this and we would have to look into where we could obtain more. Kate said she might be able to find out where John got them. Emma also suggested educating people. We pointed out notices were issued to all plot holders at rent time raising the issue and other important matters. Tim said it was a very important issue but we had rules and the perpetrator should be spoken to by the committee and told excessive use of water could lead to eviction after warnings. It was pointed out it is hard to prove unless actually found while doing it. Other suggestions were a Bore well. This has been thought of before but is not suitable on the site.
A vote was finally taken and the proposal was defeated.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Barry’s wife suggested we raise funds with a quiz. The committee will look into the suggestion.
The meeting closed at 8.57pm