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Allotment Committee Minutes 17 September 2014

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

Tuesday 17 September 2014 at 6.00 pm


South Ward
Councillor S G Inch

East Ward:
Councillor M Langmead (Town Mayor)   
Councillor D Howell

Mrs D Godfrey-Smith   
Ms J Anderson


Mr S Long

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Mr D Hoile (Marland Chairman)
Mr D Burgess (Marland Member)
Mr D Maund (Handy Cross Chairman)
Mrs D Bailey (Handy Cross Secretary)
2 x Tenants


Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded by Councillor S G Inch and

RESOLVED:  That the appointment of Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the year 2014/2015 be deferred to the following meeting, in the light of absent members.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded by Mrs Godfrey-Smith and

RESOLVED:  That Councillor S G Inch assumes the Chair for the Meeting.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)


Councillors D Brenton (South Ward - personal).  Councillor R Vanstone (East Ward - personal).  (Notification sent but received post meeting.)


There were no declarations of interest.


There was no public participation.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 3 April 2014 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)


a.   Marland site update.

The recently elected Chairman introduced himself and fellow Association Committee Member Mr Burgess.  He indicated though, that there was nothing to report.

b.   Marland Lease.

Members had sight of the Lease with a view to renewal of the Self-Management Tenancy.  Members expressed agreement that the Lease should be renewed on the same terms that had previously been enjoyed.

Councillor Howell referred to condition eight questioning whether bark was regarded as decaying matter.  Discussion followed on the merits, concerns and effective management of bark: the introduction of nitrogen (to the soil), the use of impervious membranes and the implications of the soil being soured.  

Councillor S G Inch indicated a need for clarification on the use of bark, having noted its use around the other allotment sites.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded by Councillor Howell and

RECOMMENDED: That the Marland Allotment Site remain self-managed under the same terms as the previous five year lease.  It was recommended that clarity be sought on the use of bark pertaining to lease item 8.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

Following subsequent discussion the Deputy Town Clerk will investigate the use of bark on allotment land.


a.   Handy Cross site update.

The (outgoing) secretary, Mrs Bailey, introduced herself and the Chairman, Mr Maund.  She confirmed that the Site was working well and at full capacity.  While indicating that there had been no further concerns regarding the entrance and exit to the Site she requested an update on the gate improvement (notwithstanding the potential increase in tenants).  The Deputy Town Clerk advised that the Agent to the Stucley Estate had been contacted and that a drawing had been made by Councillor Vanstone (the site is adjacent to a road that is not a classified, therefore negating the need for planning permission).

Councillor Langmead indicated that the improvement should be addressed at the next meeting with the relevant information.

b.   Additional Land.

Mrs Bailey indicated that while the Association would welcome the opportunity to take on the additional land there was no waiting list and they were mindful of entering the final year of peppercorn rent.

Discussion followed on the duration of the Tenancy between the Bridge Trust and the Town Council.  Councillor Langmead, a Trust Member, stated that should the Committee wish, he would raise the issue at the next Bridge Trust Meeting to establish whether the agreement would be extended (Members indicated their support).

Should the Association take on the land Mrs Bailey indicated that the Association would manage the transition from the current condition including fencing the area.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded by Councillor S G Inch and

RESOLVED:  Subject to the terms of the lease, allowing the Handy Cross Association to work the additional land in the second field, that a budget up to £1,000.00 would be made available to prepare the ground for future tenants.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)


Mr Long stated that the gardens were well, there were no complaints and that the site was a happy one.  He did advise though, that the top gate post is rotten and needs replacing.

Members agreed that funding of up to £100.00 be made available to make good the post.  The Deputy Town Clerk will liaise with Mr Long.


Mrs Godfrey-Smith advised that the Tenants affected by the pipe disruption had worked hard on their plots although others had to be encouraged.

She spoke of Strongvox having requested to work from plot 2 to erect a boundary wall, which would necessitate the removal of a shed.  Mr Gort would be providing details to the Deputy Town Clerk on the compensation package, responsibility for the wall (in the future) and introduction of the top gate.  He had agreed that Strongvox would work on the turning circle.  She noted that there was an issue with water that would be put to Cautiers to make good.

Ms Anderson spoke on the difficulties presented to some tenants with three padlocks held on the one chain, making exit and entry problematical.

The Deputy Town Clerk reminded members that it had been resolved by the Committee to enable Western Power to attach their own padlock to provide 24/7 access.  Following further discussion it was agreed that the Deputy Town Clerk would contact Cautiers and Western Power.


The Deputy Town Clerk indicated that a number of neglected plots had prompted Councillor Vanstone to introduce the item.  Mrs Godfrey-Smith advised that a number of new tenants lacked motivation despite the availability of a communal shed, tools and help offered by fellow tenants.  She indicated that a £50.00 refundable deposit for a key, to access the site, would encourage hard work intimating that some plots resemble fields.  She expressed concern at reducing full plots to half plots with the result that the lower divided plot is often left with less topsoil and more shillet.  Mr Long concurred adding that a trial period could be introduced for new tenants.  Ms Anderson added that enthusiastic tenants soon become disillusioned.

Both Councillors Howell and Langmead indicated that a six month trial period / probation be introduced to the tenancy agreement.

Mrs Godfrey-Smith believed that the Council should introduce six monthly inspections (to all sites) and should visit the sites generally more often.  Councillor Howell in agreeing felt the onus should not simply lie with the office staff but committee members should also be involved.  He requested that six monthly formal inspections should be discussed as an agenda item at the next Committee Meeting.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That a six month probation period should be introduced to the tenancy agreement for new tenants.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

011  LEVEL OF RENT FROM 2015/16

Committee members felt the level of rents for Bideford Allotments 2015/16 should remain the same.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That the Council maintain the current level of rents for the 2015/2016 year at £25 for a full plot and £12.50 for a half plot.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)


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 Howell, seconded by Councillor S G Inch and

RECOMMENDED: A budget of £5,600.00 for 2015/2016.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the Committee for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.40 pm.

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