Minutes of the Allotments Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Tuesday 28 May 2019 at 6.04 pm
Councillor J Herron
Councillor P Lawrence
Councillor J Craigie
Councillor Mrs R Craigie (Deputy Mayor)
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor C Hawkins
Pollyfield Mrs J Carter
Tricks Mr K Jackson
Mr S Long
Handy Cross Mr D Maund
IN ATTENDANCE: Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
1 x Allotment Tenant
1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillor Mrs J Gubb was proposed by Councillor Mrs R Craigie and seconded by Councillor C Hawkins.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Mrs J Gubb is appointed as Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.
Vote: For: 8, Against: 0)
(Councillor Mrs J Gubb assumed the Chair and thanked the Members for their vote.)
2. ELECTION OF A DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Councillor J Craigie was proposed by Councillor Mrs R Craigie and seconded by Mrs J Carter.
RESOLVED: That Councillor J Craigie is appointed as Deputy Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.
Vote: For: 8, Against: 0)
3. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Messrs A Mitchell (Pollyfield), C Cornish (Marland) and M Brown (Handy Cross).
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
Councillor J Herron declared a non-pecuniary interest generally, partner of Tricks Allotment Tenant and Item 6. Paragraph 14., Pannier Market tenant.
Mr S Long joined the Meeting.
5. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD
Mr D Maund spoke against the new rules pertaining to the Inter Site / Plot challenge that restricts the participation of those that have won overall and those that have received commendations.
He questioned the basis of the original Committee discussion believing that it was only the Novice classes that restricted participation.
He believed that it was unprecedented given that the inter site challenge was not simply restricted to vegetable per se that there is a big difference with an overall allotment plot.
The Commendation recipients too were not being given the opportunity to step up, they would have been the nearest to the overall plot champion but effectively the “fifth” placed plot (and below) would be elevated to prize winners.
Mr Maund, as the current holder, felt in being excluded he was being discriminated against, as a competitor, which he believed ran contrary to the Council’s stance of not disadvantaging any person.
He believed the “new rules” should be rescinded.
Councillor Herron wondered if Minute.14. could be re-visited believing there to be merit in selling surplus produce from the Pannier Market Hall.
The Tricks representatives advised that the Site surplus is despatched to South West Hospice, where it is gratefully received; the Site receives correspondence thanking them for their support – everyone benefits.
Councillor J Craigie encouraged the Chairmen of the respective Committees to discuss the opportunity. Any monies raised, from the sale / disposal of surplus produce, could fund and benefit a collective Allotment Site initiative.
Mrs Carter did not believe that this would prove practical. Most plot tenants dispose of surplus produce as they see fit: charitable donations, friends, relatives and neighbours. She also advised that the produce was spasmodic, it would not be feasible, certainly not a permanent outlet; perhaps a couple of dates during the growing season.
Mrs Carter questioned how, for the two sites without Associations, any monies would be distributed. Further, with the need for public liability cover to trade in the Market Hall she did not believe there would be a desire. There have been sales by the (Pollyfield Site entrance) gate but nothing sold outside Pollyfield in her experience. She concluded that there would be too many complications.
The Chairman and the Clerk would investigate and update Members accordingly.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 September 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.
(Vote – For: 2, Against: 0, Abstentions: 7)
7. INTER SITE CHALLENGE
Members noted the date for the forthcoming Site Challenge, 20 June 2019.
Councillor Lawrence established the success rate of the current overall Best Allotment Plot holder.
Mrs Anderson believed that it was a dilemma; she did not believe the opportunity to be judged the best should be removed, that as a standard it should encourage new plot holders. She sympathised, having won concurrently, in the face of statements, “they always win it”, but she urged Members to consider that those that do win, deserve to win and they have put the time and effort in.
The Chairman confirmed that the ruling needed to be reviewed albeit that the Member who had led the change was absent.
Councillor Lawrence indicated that with the Competition set for 20 June 2019 time was of the essence.
Mr Long proposed that the ruling excluding the overall plot and commendation winners from being judged the following year should be rescinded.
Mr Jackson seconded the proposal adding that those that put their heart and soul into the plot should have the chance to win the prize.
Mrs Carter led discussion on introducing further award recognition to provide encouragement to plot holders.
It was proposed by Mr S Long, seconded and
RESOLVED: That the ruling excluding the overall plot and commendation winners from being judged the following year should be rescinded.
Vote: For: 8, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)
It was proposed by Mrs Carter, seconded and
RESOLVED: That an additional commendation is awarded to the best newcomer (within the last twelve months).
(Vote: For: 7, Against: 2)
8. MARLAND SITE
In the absence of the Chairman there was no report.
9. HANDY CROSS SITE
Mr Maund stated that there were three vacant plots; two were recently evicted as a result of poor upkeep.
The Site remains in good order.
A boundary survey had recently been undertaken.
The Clerk advised that a survey, and corrective work, for both Handy Cross and Tricks Allotment Sites had been agreed and monies budgeted.
10. POLLYFIELD SITE
Mrs Carter advised that the Site is in a satisfactory position albeit that four are poorly managed, one untouched.
There had been an incident of trespass where young boys were found hiding in a polytunnel.
Mrs Carter spoke on the expectations of new gardeners, the information provided at application / tenancy, wider commitments and ability of site representatives to offer support / advice.
Discussion followed that considered the annual administration letter that includes the names of the Site representatives, introductions to the Site (organised with the Site representatives), probation period, correspondence raised where there are concerns and the possibility of providing a letter of introduction / mentor.
11. TRICKS SITE
Mr Jackson confirmed that the Site was operating well.
Concerns were raised on one specific plot.
It was agreed that the Chairman and the Clerk would visit the Site on Friday 31 May 2019.
The Chairman, having established that there was no further business to discuss, thanked the Members for their attendance and concluded the Meeting at 7.04 pm.