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 Allotment Committee Minutes 22 January 2014

North Ward:    

Councillor Mrs E A Brenton
Councillor Mrs M Fulford

South Ward:        

Councillor  S G Inch (Town Mayor)

East Ward:    

Councillor R W Vanstone (Chairman)
Councillor D Howell


Mrs D Godfrey-Smith
Mrs J Anderson


Mr S Long
Mr R Williams


Councillor D C Fulford
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Mr R Andrew (SWW)
Mr G Thompson (SWW – Consultant)
Mr S Peck (SWW – Consultant)
Mr S Courtier (KM Courtier Ltd - Contractor)
6 x Tenants


Councillor D Brenton (South Ward – Personal).


There were no declarations of interest.


A tenant believed that as the Project had exceeded the time limit the compensation should be increased by twenty five per cent.

Mr A Mitchell declared that he had read the RSPCA Welfare Advice on Chickens, circulated to Members prior to the start of the Meeting, and would adhere to them if his request at item seven was resolved in his favour.


Councillor Mrs Brenton while conceding that the Minutes had been approved by the Council listed a number of questions on the progress of points made at the Meeting held on 8 August 2013.  

The Chairman indicated that the item was to approve the Minutes and that the Councillor’s questions would be addressed at the appropriate item.

The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 August 2013 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)


Councillor Inch believed that the judgement date in August 2013 was too late; the Tricks Allotment Site Committee Members concurred.

It was proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Inter Allotment Site competition would be judged on a date in late June / early July 2014.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)


The Members indicated that everything was going well, albeit quiet, with nothing further to report.


The Chairman made reference to the RSPCA guidelines that had been circulated and confirmed the commitment of Mr Mitchell to comply with them.

Councillor Mrs Brenton, whilst in favour and approving in principle, felt that if successfully resolved upon, a notice should be displayed for twenty eight days advising other tenants of the intention to house six chickens on Mr Mitchell’s plot, providing those with any concerns the opportunity to express them.

Councillor Howell felt that in addition to a notice on the Notice Board a sign should be placed on the outside of the Allotment site in order that the neighbouring public would also receive notice.

Both the Chairman and Councillor Mrs Brenton emphasised that the request was for hens only, not cockerels, and this should be included on the Notice.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Mr Mitchell, be permitted to house six chickens but not including cockerels, on Pollyfield Plot 20, subject to any objections raised to the Council during a notice period of twenty eight days.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)


The Chairman introduced the Project team.

He raised concerns that a request by the Committee for “a tap in sewer / dry water main” had not been included in the tendering process and that the Deputy Town Clerk had requested information from Strongvox.  Discussion followed on its potential, future use and merit.  Mrs Godfrey-Smith intimated that it was not something that the tenants wanted and asked where the line would enter the site and where the toilet would be sited.

Mr Thompson confirmed that it was not part of the works and that an additional trench would need to be built to prevent cross contamination (between fresh water and sewerage).

Councillor Mrs Brenton listed a number of “actions” from the Meeting of 8 August 2013, including confirmation of compensation package and deferral of rent collection from affected tenants.  The Deputy Town Clerk confirmed those actions advising that the Chairman had been kept fully informed.

Councillor Mrs Brenton expressed a need for the Committee members to be informed of developments, to improve the lines of communication; she spoke on her understanding of the role of a chairman.  

The Chairman asked the Project Team for the timescale, as notice had been given that the work will commence on 27 January 2014.

Mr Thompson confirmed that the duration would be four weeks and finished by the end of February 2014.

Mr Courtier expressed a wish to “peg out” the demarcation lines on Saturday allowing tenants to view and remove any items prior to the work start on Monday, 27 January 2014.

Mrs Godfrey-Smith asked if there was a Method Statement – Mr Courtier confirmed there was one (available) – and were fences to be taken down.

Mr Courtier stated that there was not much to move but photographs and measurements would be taken (with a view to making good).

Councillor Mrs Brenton asked if the works included the Central Path.  

Mr Thompson confirmed that the Central Path and car parking area were part of the scheme.

Councillor Inch raised the point on “trench sink age” after the work had been carried out.

Mr Thompson advised that the soil would be bed around the pipework and compacted.  Mr Courtier added that it was not too deep and that while compacted it would not leave puddles to develop.

The Chairman asked for an on-site meeting six weeks after the completion.

Mr Courtier was content to have a meeting on completion of the works.

The Chairman reiterated his desire for a six week meeting.  Mr Thompson stated that they (SWW) inspect the work on a regular basis and would welcome attendance at the Final Inspection, prior to the Contractors vacating the site; a date could be agreed with SWW and K M Courtier Ltd.

Councillor Mrs Brenton asked when the Compensation would be paid.

Mr Andrew stated that once the underlying reinstatement is completed the proper payment could be made at any time.  (The Deputy Town Clerk added that the payment would be made to the Bideford Town Council for subsequent distribution.)

The Chairman intimated that if, for any unforeseeable reason a delay was experienced beyond anyone’s control, another season was lost an approach would have to be made to Strongvox (regarding compensation).

Mr Courtier reiterated that the Project would be completed within four weeks.

Mr Andrew spoke on the Requisition signed on 12 September 2013.  He intimated that Strongvox had shown initiative (in drawing up the compensation package) but had been slightly optimistic (with the timescale).

Mrs Godfrey-Smith questioned the compensation for the Diversion Scheme (separate from the sewer project).  

Mr Andrew stated the (SWW) compensation was one of normal statutory procedure, at not less than one hundred and fifty pounds, which would be assessed once the job is completed.


Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: that Standing Orders are suspended in order to allow a tenant to address the Committee.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

Mr Mitchell advised that there had been a delay by the Contractor as a camera was required to view the line prior to diversion being sealed and “block topped”.

Councillor Howell declared that there was a need for a review once the work had been completed.  The review would enable the Council to learn from the mistakes.

Mr Andrew stated that there had to be an agreement between the two parties; if one could not be attained then there was recourse to the Awards Chamber.  He stated that the Compensation Package offered by Strongvox was considerably above the norm and that if the Council were going back to Strongvox there was a danger of “Gilding the Lily”.  He added that the Figure was generous and that if the Council tore it up there was a danger that they would probably receive less.

Councillor Howell stated that he was not suggesting the tearing up of the agreement.

The Chairman indicated that where the route had changed, those that had an expectation of compensation, having let the land go fallow and losing potential should still be compensated.

A further tenant advised that it was not just the crop loss but also the pleasure gained from working the plots.

Mr Mitchell spoke of the provision of water storage; he questioned whether there would be a delay if a water line was introduced and further where the toilet would again be sited indicating that sewerage could not be pumped up hill.  Mrs Anderson reiterated that the allotment holders never wanted running water.

The Chairman indicated that while the present tenants were not mindful to have the facilities this was an opportunity for an installation that could be enjoyed in four or five years’ time.

Mr Thompson stated that a (dry water) pipe could not be installed as it would become contaminated.  SWW could be approached in the future for a modest fee (approximately £200.00) to put in a connection, there would be no delay.  

Mrs Godfrey-Smith spoke of the variance in line and the expectancy of monies being paid despite tenant’s sheds no longer being affected.  The Deputy Town Clerk confirmed that the full package was still being paid.

Mrs Anderson questioned access.  Mr Courtier spoke on the demarcation (which would be light in weight) and can be moved but where there was excavation it would be fenced for safety.  With reference to the soil he added that the sub and top soil would be separated giving no cross contamination.  Photographs will record the work taken but he did not envisage the need for any new top soil.

Councillor Mrs Brenton questioned the availability of the schedule of works requesting that it be made available to committee members; a copy of the map was provided for viewing in the Council offices.  

Mr Thompson spoke of SWW’s internal mapping that indicate precisely what is being actioned, where and when.


Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Meeting return to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

The Chairman indicated that the turning circle provision would be compromised given that it would encroach upon a tenant’s plot.  Mrs Godfrey-Smith confirmed that the tenant in question had agreed to lose part of the plot in support of the scheme.  The Deputy Town Clerk advised that the Tenant would need to sign a new tenancy agreement.


The Chairman invited members to submit agenda items in a drip feed arrangement and indicated that the Handy Cross site entrance requirement would be considered.

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

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