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 Allotment Committee Minutes 8 August 2013


PRESENT:        
    
North Ward:    

Councillor Mrs E A Brenton
Councillor Mrs M Fulford

South Ward:        

Councillor  D G Brenton
Councillor  S G Inch (Town Mayor)

East Ward:    

Councillor R W Vanstone (Chairman)

Pollyfield:    

Mrs D Godfrey-Smith

IN ATTENDANCE:    

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor D C Fulford

001 ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Brenton and

RESOLVED: That Councillor Vanstone is appointed Chairman for the year 2013/2014.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

002 ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded by Councillor Brenton and

RESOLVED: That Mrs Godfrey-Smith is appointed Vice-Chairman for the year 2013/2014.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

003 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor D Howell (East Ward - personal), Mr S Long (Tricks – work commitments) and Mr R Williams (Tricks – work commitments).

004 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

005 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

There were no public participants.

006 MINUTES

The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2013 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

007    POLLYFIELD SITE - SEWER PIPE INSTALLATION

With reference to correspondence previously circulated the Market Administrator advised Members of recent Meetings he had had with both Robert Andrew (Estates Surveyor, South West Water (SWW)) and Robert Alford (Land Director, Strongvox).  Robert Alford had stated that the requisition had been signed and that SWW now had responsibility for the installation works and compensation.

Members, led by Councillor Mrs Brenton, expressed the need for written confirmation that the original £45,000.00 Compensation Package agreed with Strongvox would be honoured.

Councillor Inch asked if there had been a further route change, reiterating that any change affecting other plot holders would attract further compensation.

Councillor D Brenton accepting that SWW had contacted the tenants of plots seven and nine direct regarding the “old sewer” diversion requested that as landlords the Council should be made aware and would like sight of the compensation being awarded to them.

The Chairman raised the issue of the continued disruption adding that should the works not be completed it would run into and affect the next growing season.  He believed that the whole package/works should be reviewed at the end of September 2013.

Councillor D Brenton led discussion on the suspension of rental charges.  The Market Administrator stated that as Landlords the Council needed to collect the rent to offset the expenses, as would be seen during discussion on the budget (agenda item 15).  Members believed that a core of tenants had been disadvantaged; the Chairman stated that the plots should be identified and their payments should be deferred and reviewed until after the works are complete.

Members discussed points, that previously been circulated and raised by SWW.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded by Councillor Mrs Brenton and

RESOLVED: That a letter be addressed to both SWW and Strongvox requesting written confirmation that the original agreed compensation package is honoured in full and that the Council should like to see the Works completed by the end of September 2013.  SWW provide information and sight of the compensation agreement entered into with the tenants of plots seven and nine.  

With reference to SWW’s points the Committee were content with their security recommendations regarding the Sewer diversion and were happy that the surface chamber to be built between the two allotments be finished flush with or slightly below the surrounding ground level.   SWW should be advised that the Council did not wish to acquire the length of pipe sealed at each end and that they had noted that the Sewer diversion work was aimed to start before the end of August, lasting no more than two weeks.  That the core disadvantaged tenants’ rental payments are deferred and reviewed after the completion of the works.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

008 LEASING OF TORRIDGE DISTRICT CAR PARK

Members considered the terms of the Leasing arrangement provided by Torridge District Council for the Car Park area at the entrance to the Pollyfield Allotment Site.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Bideford Town Council accept the Torridge District Council terms for the lease of land at Pollyfield for car parking.

(Vote – For: 6,  Against: 0)

009 WESTERN POWER ACCESS TO POLLYFIELD SITE

Members were advised that Western Power had requested access to the Pollyfield Site in order to work on a cable pole.  While the Engineer had been given a key on the day Western Power had asked if one of their standard padlocks could be added to the current security arrangement to afford them twenty four emergency access.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Western Power be invited to add their security lock to the Pollyfield security chain in order to obtain twenty four hour access to the Site/cable pole.  They are to advise the Council when accessing (the Site) during normal office hours.

(Vote – For: 6,  Against: 0)

010 CENTRAL PATH/VEHICLE ACCESS – POLLYFIELD SITE

The Deputy Town Clerk spoke on the work that was going to provide for a central path.  Having spoken to Robert Alford (Strongvox) who advised against making the pathway any wider than eight foot based on the need to strengthen/stabilize the sides which would increase the cost dramatically.  Any vehicular traffic would present a Health and Safety concern to plot holders especially when in the act of reversing.  He said that all adjacent allotment holders would have to be in agreement where plot size could be changed (with the possibility of renewing tenancy agreements).

Councillor Inch did not believe that vehicle traffic was a concern for the Council stating that those individuals would be driving at their own risk.  The Deputy Town Clerk reiterated his concern at the risk to plot holders suggesting that there could also be bottlenecks.

Mrs Godfrey-Smith advised that Plot 1, on becoming vacant (with effect 31 August 2013) would be reduced to a half plot and, in accordance with the agreement, half the plot given over to a turning area.  She added that plot holders would introduce a system to manage the introduction of and safe movement along the access path.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the provision of a central access path would benefit allotment holders.

 (Vote – For: 6,  Against: 0)

011 ROLE OF THE SITE REPRESENTATIVE

The Deputy Town Clerk reiterated the Resolution from the Allotment Committee Meeting Minute dated 16 May 2012 that referred to the reporting of untended and weedy plots.  

Mrs Godfrey-Smith added that she had been liaising with the Assistant to the Town Clerk in helping introduce potential and new tenants to the site and their respective plots.

Both the Chairman and Councillor Mrs Brenton saw the role as providing representation to the officers and committee facilitating the passage of information.

It was noted that Mrs Anderson had been the sole volunteer to join the Allotment Committee in the role of Pollyfield Site representative replacing Mr D Kersey who had previously stood down.  

Councillor D Brenton left the Meeting.

012 REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY PLOT HOLDER

The Deputy Town Clerk advised Members that a Tricks Tenant had incurred expense at providing fencing around the area designated for the keeping of bees.  They had been given to believe fellow plot holders would reimburse him on the basis that they all would benefit from bees being on site.  As this had proved not to be the case he had provided copies of invoices to the Council requesting that consideration be made to compensate him.

Councillor Mrs Brenton believed that in order for the Council to provide a payment prior authority would have to had to been made.  She did not agree to make payment but urged the Tenant to approach those that will benefit from having the Bees on site.

The Chairman too did not believe that it was the Council’s responsibility.

Councillor Mrs Brenton directed the individual to return to the plot holders and liaise with the Site Representatives.

013 LEVEL OF RENT FROM 2014/15

Committee members felt the level of rents for Bideford Allotments 2014/15 should remain the same, but be reviewed for 2015/2016.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Council maintain the current level of rents for the 2014/2015 year at £25 for a full plot and £12.50 for a half plot.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

014 HANDY CROSS SITE ENTRANCE ALTERATIONS

The Deputy Town Clerk appraised Members on his correspondence with the Agent of the Stucley Estate regarding the siting of a new entrance, following the last Allotment Committee Meeting, and confirmation from TDC that the Bowden Green road is not classified and so no planning permission would be required.

Members discussed how the process should be progressed.  It was not believed necessary for an architect to be engaged, but that the Chairman, having already provided a draught would sketch out a plan that would form the basis for a tender.
It would also be sent to the Stucley Estate for approval.  While the Chairman intimated that budgetary provision should be made expenditure up to £2,000.00 he intimated that there were qualified Handy Cross Tenants that could provide the work on a self-help basis.

015 CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE BUDGET FOR 2014/15

After a discussion on the needs of the individual sites in the coming year including tree maintenance and contingency amounts, it was

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone , seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Committee recommends the new budget of £3,750.00 for 2014/2015 to the Town Council.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

016 TRICKS SITE UPDATE

There was no representation.

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the Committee for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.15 pm.


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