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Allotment Committee Minutes 28 February 2017


PRESENT:       
   
North Ward   

Councillor P Pester
Councillor D McGeough

South Ward   

Councillor D Brenton
Councillor B Wootton

East Ward   

Councillor S Robinson

Pollyfield   

Ms J Anderson
Mr A Mitchell

Tricks   

Mr K Jackson
Mr S Long

IN ATTENDANCE:   

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Mr D Hoile (Marland Chairman)
Mr D McLellan (Marland, Committee)
Mrs S Whitehill (Handy Cross, Secretary)
1 x Allotment tenant.

Prior to the start of the Meeting the Deputy Town Clerk confirmed that everyone had appended their details on the Fire Register.

15.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

No apologies had been received.

16.  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

There were no declarations of interest.

17.  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD

The Public Member did not take the opportunity to participate.

18.  MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 September 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

19.  CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

The Chairman confirmed visiting the four allotment sites accompanied by Councillor Robinson and the Deputy Town Clerk.

He was pleased to advise that the majority of plots were well maintained albeit that they were seen in dormant stages.

A more recent visit to Pollyfield had seen preparation for the onset of spring although one or two plots needed attention.

He spoke of a visit to the Marland Allotments where a meeting with the developers, adjacent to the Site, and the DCC representative, Mr C Bouchard was conducted and also to view the Shed that had become of such interest to a resident of Union Close. 

20.  MARLAND SITE

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED: that Standing Orders are suspended in order to allow the Association tenants to address the Committee.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

Members had received details of correspondence with DCC, the present lease agreement and feedback from the Site representatives:

a.   DCC – 21 year lease.

Members in response to the offer from DCC Members reviewed the amendments to the Lease that included :

•    Rent.
•    Schedule of names addresses.
•    Erection of sheds.
•    Lock to the gate with keys.
•    Notice / termination terms.
•    First Schedule reference to Westcroft School.
•    Updated plan.

Councillor Brenton felt very strongly that the annual rent should not be subjected to an increase.  Speaking in terms of the (Bideford Town) Council’s commitment to the Community asset, through maintaining the Site for the gardeners and beyond, in terms of the lease clause 4(2) but further where the Council maintenance workers and their programme have completed tasks that would otherwise fall within the remit and responsibility of DCC.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: that the terms of the Lease, including the amended terms, be accepted excepting the annual rental increase from £400 to £550.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

b.   Bideford Town Council / Marland Allotment Association Terms.

Mr Hoile confirmed the works that the Tenants performed to maintain the integrity of the Site.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: that the terms of the Lease remain the same.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

c.   Update.

Mr Hoile thanked the Committee for the support, including the removal of materials, regarding the Shed that is now in a good state of repair.

Five half plots have been taken on by new tenants; a further offer / acceptance will see a full Site.

One tenant had taken on an additional plot with a further tenant moving up from a half to a full plot.

He noted that the building work was moving closer.

In total the forty plots are made up of sixteen full and twenty four half plots.
   
d.   Security System.

Following the discussion and subsequent installation of a system at the Tricks Site (Mr Long confirmed his satisfaction), the Association expressed a desire to enjoy a similar opportunity.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: that a similar security system to that installed at the Tricks Allotment Site be purchased for the Marland Site.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

e.   Disabled friendly initiative funding.

Members had been privy to a request from the Association to consider match funding an initiative that would support the purchase of materials to create a “disabled friendly” pathway for one of the Site plots. 

Councillor Brenton confirmed the Associations funding approach and while suggesting that the Council supports an initiative that would aide and promote gardening for a disabled tenant further entreaties should be made to the Bridge Trust.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: that £200 is given to the Marland Allotment Association Site in support of providing a disabled friendly pathway for one of the Site plots.  Should the project not be undertaken the Council will demand the return of the payment.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

21.  HANDY CROSS UPDATE.

Mrs Sonia Whitehill, secretary to the Handy Cross Association, advised that she had taken on the role in September 2016 alongside a new chairman and treasurer.  Shortly afterwards she advised that the Chairman stepped down and “stepped away” from their plot.

Unfortunately a vice chairman had not been nominated; an EGM has been set for 7 March 2017 when she is confident that a new chair and vice will be elected.

She has organised an E Mail address exclusively for Handy Cross and created a plan of the three distinct fields on the Site highlighting where the Committee Members’ plots are situated.  The Notice Board has similarly been updated including posting of their Meeting Minutes.

The fence on the original first field is suffering from corrosion.

Four working days will be arranged during the summer; the first will address the fence.

The Site is looking to improve communication generally and promote a friendly environment for the tenants; a marquee will be established to foster opportunities to meet and greet away from the plots.

Of the sixty one plots, three are empty while two further plots will be vacated in September.

The Gate is working brilliantly; a new padlock has been installed.  The Security issue highlighted in September 2016 appeared to be an isolated incident.

Councillor Wootton commended Mrs Whitehill for her efforts in the face of challenging circumstances.  He applauded her for facilitating the improvement in communications.

22.  TRICKS SITE

RETURN TO STANDING ORDERS

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Meeting return to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

a.   Update.

Mr Long confirmed that the Allotment Site was full, working well with the majority of plots very clean.

He reiterated that feedback had confirmed the security installation was working well.

No work had been carried out by the householder responsible for the decaying element of the boundary wall, to date.

The Deputy Town Clerk confirmed that a response had been received indicating that they would commit to the works. 

It was agreed that he should write again encouraging industry.

b.   Fence Extension on the West Side of the Site.

(Councillor Wootton left the Meeting.)

Mr Long believed that the Site would benefit by extending the fencing thereby clearly defining the boundary.

Councillor Brenton agreed that a site visit would inform the Committee adding that the Council’s Maintenance Operatives could complete the work.

23.  POLLYFIELD SITE

a.   Introduction of Chippings / Stones to the Site.

Ms Anderson raised her concern on the practise of tenants introducing uncomposted chippings onto their plots.  She highlighted one instance where stone chippings have been laid whilst noting that the Site is built on shillit.

Given that there is plenty of stone she believed that importing would create a problem, not least when the tenant is vacating the plot; the implications for the following tenant were not good.

Both reps felt that a message should be sent telling plot holders not to bring any more on to the Site.  Ms Anderson advocated composted wood chip, as opposed to uncomposted that takes away nitrogen; Members expressed agreement.

The Deputy Town Clerk agreed to write to the individual tenant advising that it will be incumbent upon them to remove the additional stone.  In addition an entry will be introduced in the annual administrative letter informing against introducing stone.  Where there is doubt, advice should be sought.

b.   Weed killer guidelines.

Ms Anderson raised her concerns over the use of weed killers and glyphosate in particular.  She believed that glyphosate is not good for soil, water and human beings.

Members felt that further information was required.  It was agreed that for the next Meeting:

•    Miss Anderson will provide information.
•    The Deputy Town Clerk will request information from the National Allotment Society.
•    Representatives to counsel their fellow tenants.

c.   Update.

Ms Anderson, with great sadness, informed the Members that Mr Don Kersey (Plot 13) had recently passed away.

Both Ms Anderson and Mr Mitchell believed that there should be a respectful period of grace before it became incumbent upon the relatives to remove any items be they fruit / vegetable or mechanical.  The Tenancy Agreement states:

“This tenancy shall terminate on the death of the tenant…”

Members agreed that a three month period of grace be introduced to allow for grieving family members to remove any items, prior to the plot being re-let.

Ms Anderson advised that two intruders had been accosted by a tenant.  They left but declared they would be back.  (Police have been informed.)

The Deputy Town Clerk confirmed that a sign had been placed on the gate advising tenants of the incident (and warning against engagement).

Both Ms Anderson and Mr Mitchell raised concerns over growing difficulties between the Plot holders of 2 and 4, and Plot 6.  It has escalated to a point where Plot Holder 2 has erected fencing outside the boundary line of Plot Holder 4 which effectively prevents Plot Holder 6 from taking a wheel barrow along the path bordering their respective plots. 

Mr Mitchell questioned the erratic behaviour and lack of regard to fellow tenants, of Plot Holder 2, through carelessly driving his vehicle on another plot and for the past year his apparent only activity having been to heap dung upon his plot.

Councillor Brenton felt that his actions were in contravention of the tenancy agreement where tenants are not to cause any nuisance or annoyance to other tenants.

At Ms Anderson’s behest Members agreed that letters should be sent to both Plot holders, 2 and 4, instructing them to remove the fencing / obstruction from the path adjacent to Plot 6, work within the spirt of their agreement, cease importing dung and simply cultivate their respective gardens.

The Chairman, having established that there was no further business to discuss, thanked the Members for their attendance and concluded the Meeting at 7.30 pm.




     
     
     
     
     
     
   





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