St. Mary’s Allotment Association
The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
At St. Mary’s Church Hall, 2nd December 2012
K.Rourke P.S.Gill G.H.Simms B.Layton
R.E.Webb M.Ferrante P.M.Betts L.Campbell
D.Dawkins P. Fisher B Welsby J.Shaw
A.J.Holmes N.B.Briggs J.Sheridan K.Bugg
D.Dilworth G.Bugg L.Pride C.Pearson
M.Pearson R.Rourke S.Reeve J.Myers
R.Harvey L.Harvey D.Alcock R.Hague
P.Ralph J.Naylor T.Taylor E.Alcock
C.Holden J.Burns J.King J.Layton
P.Broad D.Chater N.Bond M.Bond T.Naylor J.Hofstetter
Vice President Bob Webb thanked the Chairman and the whole Committee for the new water system and fencing installed during the past year.
He then declared the meeting open at 7.30pm.
Chairman Jim Layton welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave everyone time to read the minutes from last year prior to agreeing or questions raised.
On page 1 it was pointed out that Edith Ward was actually Edith Warr. This error would make it difficult to research history of the site.
P.S.Gill then proposed the minutes were otherwise accurate.
G.H.Simms seconded the proposal
Jim then continued by saying we started the year with a flood and also ended the year with another flood. He quoted an old Leamington saying “The rain fell to the river, the sewage to the land” feeling it rather apt this year. Happily not on our site. Various issues, such as pollution from flooding are not a problem at present. Environmental Health say unless visible sewage pollution things should be okay. Peel and boil root vegetables, take outer leaves of brassicas and boil. Watch onions and leeks as they can be worst affected by pollution and should not be used if sewage pollution is found. We have been assured the site is not affected.
The site Risk Assessment has raised some queries regarding the 4 inch drop from the road. We are looking at solutions. The Ash trees on the Radford Road will be checked again in spring when new shoots visible, nothing has been found on the trunks.
We are considering increasing rents next year. They have not been increased for three years but we would like to raise them by £2 to £30 plus £2 NSALG.
A new area is to be designated for manure to be delivered to. This should be soon.
Each year we now raise an Action Plan for the coming 12 months. We raise 10 points and to try and implement them over the year.
2012 points were.
10: Improve water conservation as we used too much water the previous year. It was so wet we did not do anything, hardly any water was used.
9: Improve communication with local residents. Over 125 people came to the Mikron Theatre play which was very successful. Several were local residents.
8: Risk Assessment – We have a duty of care, must avoid danger item like glass, holes in paths etc. The exit to the main road has been improved. We are looking at the road drop. Ponds need to have covers which prevent people falling into them and need to be away from the edge of plots.
7: Site tidiness, this has been a bad year. Paths so overgrown, but it has been difficult because of the weather. We will have 4 inspections during the year and site reps will check their areas at other times. !st inspection will be Easter.
Skips were provided and a lot of rubbish removed from the site.
6: Develop the Web site.—Mark has done a good job but the system was difficult to operate. We are now having a new Web site which should be operational this month. The site will highlight forthcoming events, floods, raising funds, general information, monthly grow guide, met office information, forum questions, being a committee member, the news letter and various photographs, site history. Lots of interesting items.
5: Security, the Radford Road fencing has been mostly done. Lack of money prevented the whole being done. The small pedestrian gate near the Newbold Comyn we do want to replace when we have the money available. Glebe Place gate is fairly secure as the residents do notice who comes and goes.
4: Establish plots for disabled and older people having difficulties.
3: Coffee mornings. This did not happen, weather and other problems made it impossible.
2 : Plant sales and the open day.
1: New Meeting Hut; we have a grant of £2000 from the council towards a new hut and will be getting a 29ft by 9-10ft office hut with cladding, electricity, and a kitchen area. Later we will add a covered veranda with benches to sit on. A surplus vegetables area. Re-sited to give better view to car park. Should be by March 2013.
The Year Review
April was horrible. May was better, sale was good. The water barrels from John Griffin were a success, the car park , we had no problems for the sale. Thanks to the committee for loads of work, especially Pete Betts and Dave Dilworth for the pollarding , hedge cutting, clearing ditches and grass strimming.
John Griffin and Colin Neale are standing down from the committee and we thank them for their time and help. The overgrown area by the Leam Terrace wall was cleared and is now a useful plot again. An old greenhouse (historical) was taken down at the request of the plot holder as it was unsafe. Oak Dale fencing came on a May morning. They were a happy lot and the £9000 of fencing was installed along the Newbold Comyn side of the site. The Mikron Theatre Group was a fantastic success, it was a great day. The weather was bad for this summer event but for once we were lucky and avoided the rain!!
Rod Harvey won the Best New Gardener in August. The Rural Urban Improvement Grant of £9000 was matched by us so we were able to do most of the fencing needed. The District Council gave us £400 which allowed us to purchase a new strimmer. £2000 from the Town Council for the Meeting Hut.
The Water System cost £27,000 including a £10,000 grant from Awards For All.
Problems, we have had ongoing issues during the year, misconduct on the site, we saw it through until sorted out. Several plots from long standing members were very neglected and we had to follow procedure to the letter to manage the situation. All in all we have had a very busy year.
Jim then finished his summary of the year.
Treasurer’s Report- Nigel Briggs
Nigel read out the financial report starting with Income.
The increase from allotment rents is mainly due to efficient turnover of plots. Failing plots are being caught earlier. The increased late rent penalties has reduced the problem, 2011 we had 38 late this year 9. Jak Sheridan queried the scrap metal money. Nigel explained we were given “free” skip for metal and money from metal over the cost of hire was given back to us. Jane Naylor queried the lack of interest accumulated, Nigel explained the money goes in and out but is not static this is why interest does not increase.
Expenditure. The actual bill for water for 2012 was £371 but we had to pay £3658.92 this was because we owed from previous year. £500 leakage allowance was given by Severn Trent against the outstanding bill. Now the water system has been replaced we expect the bills to be normal.
The books have been properly audited by John Holmes.
Jim Layton proposed the accounts accepted. Kate Rourke seconded.
Jim Layton gave of thanks to Nigel .
Lettings Officer Report- Lesley Campbell
We have had over twice as many new lets (51) as last year (20). 9 taking additional plots. 5 additional members to plots.
A lot of movement on plots with people coming and going.
Most applications come via the Web site. They are given a number, we are up to number 183 now. As they get to the top of the list they are contacted to see if they are still interested. Some withdraw, some defer until a better time for themselves ( up to one year).
Approximately 30 are waiting at any time. The average wait for a plot is 6 months.
A new policy has been introduced this year. New plots are monitored for 12 months. 3, 6, and 12 month inspections take place. We had a lot of problems in the past so we are monitoring at earlier stages . New plot holders are given information of a realistic timescale and the progress expected at each stage.
An email is sent at each stage to tell the plot holder how well they are doing.
Many like to be told how they are doing. If things are not up to scratch some have left because they find they can’t cope. These plots don’t carry on failing, others need help to continue. As a new policy we are still adjusting things as
Leslie concluded the report.
Jim Layton gave a vote of thanks to Lesley.
Jim Layton also gave thanks to Miles Ferrante for the sponsored walk,
Harj Bagga for the curry night and Pete Betts for the shop.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
President –Jim Riman has stood down due to ill health. He is unable to be here.
Bob Webb proposed as president by Kate Rourke seconded by Robin Rourke
Gordon Simms proposed as vice president by Bob Webb seconded by Mr. Gill
Jim Layton proposed as chair by Kate Rourke seconded by Miles Ferrante
Harj Bagga proposed as vice chair by Jim Layton seconded by Lesley Campbell
Nigel Briggs proposed by Gordon Simms seconded by Susie Reeve
3 Year Re- Elections – Lesley Campbell proposed by Ellen Alcock seconded by Jane Naylor
Kate Rourke proposed by Ellen Alcock seconded by Jane Naylor
Other committee members – John King, Pete Betts, Miles Ferrante, Gordon Simms
This leaves two vacancies. Joan Blows is proposed by Lesley Campbell seconded by Kate Rourke. Elected.
Jak Sheridan Is proposed by Susie Reeve and seconded by Ellen Alcock. Elected.
No Proposals for rule changes.
River Plot Draw
17 names put into draw. Jim asked member present to draw 1st name.
William Harris – Plot C83 was 1st out
Kate Rourke – A65 was 2nd out
John Ritson – was 3rd out
Kate will contact William and John to let them know. When William has chosen his plot Kate can choose next and John will get final plot available.
Susie Reeve was pleased with all the work done by Pete Betts and Dave Dilworth but felt the plot holders in the area by Leam Terrace wall should have been consulted. Jim said when work is to be done we will let people know as a courtesy.
Susie also said the main paths are really bad ( the water system work has caused much of this) and are collapsing making it impossible to get a tractor load of manure to their plots. Bob Webb said the paths were never meant to take heavy tractors, originally it was a 2 ton horse and cart used to get manure, not a 20 ton tractor. Jim said stakes put in to stop traffic going on soft ground are regularly removed . No easy solution. Perhaps a trolley could be used to take manure down to plots. No money available for repairs at present. We will discuss it at the Planning Meeting.
Regarding the Web site Jak Sheridan asked how many people are on email. Jim replied 300, and 50 on face book. The web site is the way forward.
Jane Naylor is a member of Ryton Gardens and the Heritage seed library. They
Are desperate for people to grow heritage seeds to increase the seed bank and keep up the conservation of seeds for bio diversity. Anyone interested could contact Ryton or Jane and Jim have phone numbers. Seed saving is very important.
Bob Webb said wood chip should not be put on grass paths , people are doing this because of the wet but it kills the grass underneath the roots of which hold the ground together. Wood chip is only a temporary solution.
Paths are not getting cut properly. D56 said he is the only one maintaining paths near his plot and the committee needs to look at the problem of continued non compliance with the rules. Another item for the Planning meeting. We are considering 3 letters in short succession and plot holder will be evicted.
Site Maintenance will need to be a priority for the next year.
The meeting closed at 9.00pm