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Allotments Committee Meeting Monday 16 May 2012 

Minutes of the Allotments Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on

Tuesday 16 May 2012 at 5.30 pm

North Ward:    Councillor  Mrs M Fulford

East Ward:    Councillor R W Vanstone

Pollyfield:    Mrs D Godfrey-Smith
                  Mr D Kersey

Tricks:        Mrs S Andronik
                  Mr A Marlow

IN ATTENDANCE:    Councillor D C Fulford
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Mrs C Scott (Assistant Town Clerk)
3 x members of the public


Councillor Mrs Fulford proposed and seconded by Mrs Godfrey-Smith

RESOLVED: That Councillor Vanstone be Chairman of the Allotment Committee for the year 2012/2013

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)


Mr Kersey proposed and seconded by Councillor Vanstone

RESOLVED: That Mrs Godfrey-Smith be Vice Chairman of the Allotment Committee for the year 2012/2013

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)


Councillor Mrs E A Brenton (North Ward – Personal)
Councillor D G Brenton (South Ward – Personal).
Councillor S G Inch (South Ward - Personal).


There were no declarations of interest.


One member of the public spoke on agenda item 7.3. wanting the Council to take immediate action against untidy and neglected plots at Pollyfield. The same person also queried the dates of tenancy agreements and wondered if March would be a better time to put it in line with the growing season. Advised this can be an agenda item for the next meeting.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2011 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 6 , Against: 0)


1.Repair and provision of level access on approach to the Pollyfield site and the path within.

The Deputy Town Clerk explained that the Town Clerk will be having a meeting
with the new Handy Man at the end of the Month and had spoken to his predecessor who, working through TTVS had direct links with the Prince’s Trust, who agreed to make an assessment but subsequently left the organisation.

Mrs Godfrey-Smith thought it related to the work proposed with Strongvox and not a handyman. Councillor Vanstone clarified it was hoped to be a joint operation. Strongvox had discussed providing water, but no formal agreements had been drawn up regarding that or the path at the moment. The Committee needs to have an assessment & job specification to put to Strongvox to consider contributing to the scheme.


Proposed by Councillor Mrs Fulford, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are suspended in order to hear from a member of the public, Mr Martin Moore, on creating a disabled plot.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

2.Disabled plot design

Mr Moore explained that if there was a designated disabled plot he could then carry out an assessment for the plot & tailor it to the level of disability of the recipient, he has several designs. He stressed that good access to the site was essential and that often one plot can cater for several disabled people, sharing the plot/ work.

Councillor Vanstone suggested asking in the Council Newsletter for expressions of interest from disabled people for a plot & to consider this for the Phase II of Handy Cross development. The money would either be raised by private funds, as Handy Cross is an association run allotment, or extra funds could be requested from the Full Town Council.


Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the order of business be changed to allow agenda item 7.4. to be taken before agenda item 7.3.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

4.Handy Cross Phase II – sharing of adjacent field earmarked for use by Jigsaw.

Councillor Vanstone explained that there had been a recent meeting between the Town Clerk, Mr Martin Moore, the Deputy Town Clerk and a representative from Jigsaw. Jigsaw now only wants to use part of the field but the Council may need to contact the Bridge Trust to ask permission to take it over for more allotments and asked the Deputy Town Clerk to contact them.

It was explained that a water pipe runs straight through the site – so a metre track must be left on top of it for safety. Jigsaw would prefer a straight down the centre split and this would create at least 12 full size plots 108 square metres and some twenty half plots.

Mr Martin Moore having supplied a set of costings totaling £1500.00 for the preparation of the site, was advised that it would have to be for next year’s budget or   again, as an association site, Handy Cross may secure private funding, but the project would not begin at the earliest before Autumn.

Councilor Vanstone explained funding could be asked for next year from   Bideford Town Council as well, and that the Council will set the budget in the Autumn for the coming year. Mr Kersey sought confirmation that the £2500 for the water harvesting at Pollyfield would not be forgotten; Councillor Vanstone confirmed the funds were ring-fenced.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Handy Cross have permission to proceed with Phase II subject to consent of the Bridge Trust, providing that no extra cost is incurred to the Council.

3. Plot representatives – reporting of weedy plots.

The Deputy Town Clerk advised that the Council wishes to delegate authority to site representatives to report untendered, weedy plots to the Council Officers ideally with digital photographs of their concerns.  On that basis, the appropriate warning letter/action can be initiated, but the Officers will continue to visit the sites periodically.


Mrs D Godfrey Smith explained that the representatives had listed seven plots that were badly maintained, five are full plots. Some discussion took place on the best way to tackle the problem, as the representatives have little or no contact with the tenants. It was felt that the Council needs to act promptly, offering half plots and reinspecting after a six week period and terminating leases if needed.

Mr Marlow suggested a vetting system for new people & limiting tenancy to 3 months initially. Councillor Vanstone explained that if tenants are given a neglected plot they may get a free or reduced tenancy to encourage them to clear it up; it remains at the discretion of the Council.


Mrs S Andronik advised there were no major problems on the Tricks site.

Councillor Vanstone requested that letters be sent out to all known offenders within the next 10 days if possible and allow them one month to respond, then inspect the property.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the site reps have the authority to supply the Council with a photograph & details of the plot holders to take further action.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

Mrs D Godfrey –Smith proposed, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Meeting return to normal order

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)


The Deputy Town Clerk explained that Contractors working for the Housing Association that owns the development bordering the Marland Allotment site have hacked back the hedge in such a manner that it has left gaps through which people have obtained access.  There are bees on site; presenting a potential danger (a lid has been removed).  The Housing Association although contacted on several occasions by both the Town Clerk and her assistant have not taken responsibility for the damage and no action has been taken by them.  The Council wish to purchase three or four Heras fencing sheets to be deployed until the situation is resolved.  The Heras Fencing would subsequently be retained by the Council for future use, as, despite Marland being an Association, the Council retains responsibility for the boundaries.

Councillor Vanstone explained what Heras fencing was but emphasised the need for the Council to go back to the Housing Association, informing them that we will carry out this temporary boundary repair work but will be seeking to reclaim the cost from them, not with the subcontractors.

Mr Moore explained the request to purchase the Heras fencing was because it would be a long term solution to create a barrier for the existing plants to grow back. Probably over a period in excess of two years. He also suggested the planting of pyrocanthus, or something similarly robust, in the weaker spots.


Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Standing orders be resumed.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Committee purchase the Heras fencing as soon as possible and a letter be sent to the Housing Association by the Deputy Town Clerk to explain that the Council will seek to recover the cost.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)


Mrs S Andronik explained to the Committee that the NSALG were holding a Party on the Plot week in August with packs being sent out in June to all those allotments interested in the event.  She asked if the Committee would allow Tricks to hold such an event.

Proposed by Mrs Andronik, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Tricks Allotments have permission to hold a ‘Party on the Plot’ event in August.

(Vote – For: 6 , Against: 0)


Members discussed the current arrangements, criteria and timescales of the judging of the best allotment plots and sites – normally in the first week of July. The main criteria were the well-maintained aspect and the variety of vegetables/fruit grown. The Deputy Town Clerk advised that the Committee could change the dates / frequency or awards but prizes were currently awarded at the Annual Pot Plant Show. After some debate it was decided that the judging is moved to the first week in August, with the Mayor, the Chairman of the Allotments Committee and an outside judge with expertise in horticulture. The presentations could then be given in the Spring, possibly at the Mayor’s Introduction Ceremony. Councillor Vanstone asked for a letter to be sent out to Mr M Avis of Moreton Nurseries to invite him to be a judge this year.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the chairman of the Committee, the Town Mayor and another person of Gardening expertise from an outside body, or if not available, another Councillor, be the judges for the best allotment this year.

(Vote – For: 6,  Against: 0)



Mrs Andronik explained that everyone is happy, but that Tenants do need their skip delivered in the summer, with a week or so to give everyone enough notice.  Friday the 8th June, to be arranged by the Deputy Town Clerk.


Have inherited a lock from Tricks and it has broken again, they need a new lock with a long shackle so that the chain can be welded on easily and a set of new keys. Councillor Vanstone asked Deputy Town Clerk to purchase two new padlocks from the contingency fund, so that Pollyfield have a spare for use if another gate is created. Mrs D Godfrey-Smith to be informed when the lock has arrived so she can collect it and distribute the new keys. As Pollyfield have a new gate, they now require new Council signs. Deputy Town Clerk asked to arrange this as soon as possible. Tenants would also like their rubbish collected in the first week of June. On a positive note Mrs Godfrey-Smith explained that, regarding the Communal plot, the Tenants had now raised the money for their shed and leveled the plot to put in some potatoes, so hopefully by the end of June it should be up and running.


• A Toilet for Tricks
Mrs Andronik explained there are products that don’t require any up keep - Mrs Andronik will investigate costings, maintenance and vulnerability to damage prior to the next meeting.

• A Gate & padlock on Pollyfield
Mr Kersey proposed a small gate at the top of the site to save the tenants a long walk. Just a pedestrian/wheelbarrow access would be needed. Pollyfield to get some costings prior to the next meeting. Deputy Town Clerk to write to Strongvox expressing the Committee’s wishes regarding a small top gate. New padlock proposed by Mrs Godfrey-Smith.

• Terms of the tenancy
The annual renewal dates of tenancies are to be reviewed.

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the Committee for their attendance and the meeting concluded at   7.05   pm.

Signature of Town Mayor:…………………………………   Date:……………………............

Signature of Chairman: ……………………………………   Date: ……………………….......



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