Water Leak

Weather permitting, work on locating, and repairing the water leak on Old Coach Road will begin on Tuesday 14th December.

Access to site may be restricted whilst Avon Water Services are excavating across the top and main gates, but any restirctions will be kept minimal.

Should you have any queries or concerns regarding the works, please don’t hesitate to conact me.

John Stooke – Secretary

Present:  John Stooke, Mark Robinson, Jane Bowden, Winnie Beck,  Charles Dewa, Wendy Thomas, Carol Brier

Apologies: Simon Hudson


Meeting opened at 10.35

The minutes from the previous meeting held 27th June 2021 were accepted. Proposed by MR and seconded by WB.

Matters Arising

  • Strategic/Financial Plan: JS to organise a meeting of the group (JB, JR, MR and SH)
  • FCA: JS still awaiting reply.  .
  • Lease:  Awaiting response from Council however, the council had sent a surveyor who had found the leak and would be reporting back to the council that it would cost about £4500 to £5000 to fix.  Jo Tarrant is aware that the leak being fixed is a condition of us signing the new lease/management agreement.
  • Sub committees: JS is working on setting these up
  • Hedges: the main problematical hedges had now been sorted out although there are a few new ones that JS will check up on.
  • Noticeboards: JS is still working on the design of these.
  • Key Register: JS has done this with just 1 key outstanding
  • Stock Control sheet for the shop:  JS/MR to devise something once the shop is up and running next year.
  • Following the inspection, RB had been readmitted to the committee.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Current financial situation:  MR explained that we currently have about £8745 in the bank of which about £2445 is available for spending (the rest is required for liabilities such as key deposits, water bill, rent).  This means we are in a reasonable position.  WB was concerned that this was insufficient given our plans for developing the site but it was agreed that major development such as the hut would need to be financed by a special pot of money from a grant (WT investigating this) rather than our normal subscriptions.  The amount we have should be sufficient to cover roadstone, skips etc.
  • BBQ:  All agreed the BBQ had been extremely successful both in terms of enjoyment and also financially.  The raffle had raised £240, the auction £300 and £60 was given in donations.  Costs were £400 so the profit was £200.  £72 was still outstanding for the strimmer (MR/JS to chase).  Unfortunately, only about half the tenants attended the BBQ, most attendees were friends and family.

Secretary’s Report

  • Vacant plots:  4 vacant plots have been let following extensive work by JS, Steve Yorke and Steve Williams to get some of them into a decent condition.  There is likely to be another plot available at the end of January.
  • Eviction:  JS reported that he had been unable to get a response from the tenant of plot 10/11 despite multiple attempts, so all agreed that he should remove the padlock, the tenant informed that their tenancy had ended and that the plot should be let. 
  • Rents:  Only one tenant continues to owe money for their rent.  JS to follow up.
  • JS/JB to clarify in Association policies, procedures and other rules about ‘bequeathing’ a tenancy to a family member or friend if they have been involved in working the plot over a period of time.
  • Waiting list:  JS had reduced the list to between 35 and 40 by removing duplicates on the council list and our list.
  • Trees: JS had contacted Network Rail who were not interested in the H and S aspects of the trees unless they threatened the line/trains.  Therefore, JS will contact Steve Yorke about cutting off branches which overhand our land and are felt to be a threat once the leaves have all dropped.
  • Rent Invoice:  Not received from the council.
  • Water:  All agreed that water will be turned off on Monday 29th November.  (Subsequently changed to 22nd November due to forecast of freezing weather).
  • Policies:  JB reported that policies and procedures had been revised following comments and suggestions at the AGM.  These have now been sent to JS.  Barry Mitchell had made a number of comments about disparities between different documents, and it was agreed to contact him and to use his skills to help us standardise the documents.  (JS/JB)

Any other Business

  • Damaged Polytunnel: As the damage is not covered by the Association’s RHS insurance policy, WB asked if the Association could give her a donation to help with replacing the damaged tunnel.  It was felt that this would set a difficult precedent, especially as other people who had suffered damage on their plots had not been given financial help in this way.  JS agreed to provide her with some plastic sheeting, and it was also agreed that JS would remind/inform tenants that it was their responsibility to get insurance for their own plot if they wished to.  A reduced rate is available from the NAS.
  • Plot 1: There was considerable concern over the lack of progress over the past 2+ years on this plot and the amount of stuff that had been brought to it.  Although the review procedure had been started in the past, the tenant had done a small amount of work so the procedure was halted and would need to start again from the beginning.  It was agreed that JS would draft a letter to the tenant advising him of the committee’s concern and instructing him that he must make progress on preparing this plot for the next season, i.e. weeding, grass cutting.  This draft to be circulated to the committee first.  JS to review the eviction procedure to deal with people who repeatedly do a minimum to stop the procedure then fall behind again.
  • Advertising/Communication/noticeboards:  It was suggested that there should be a newsletter including adverts for items that were wanted or offered.  It was pointed out that this was something for the Communication group and that this needed to be set up with a terms of reference as soon as possible (JS)
  • Social event: Although it was felt that a social event for Christmas may be difficult to organise in time for this year, it was agreed that we would like to have more social events and that setting up the Events Committee and its terms of reference was a priority. (JS)
  • Website:  CB had developed a new website for the Association.  She agreed to ensure that information from the current one was transferred to it.  Once it was up and running the committee would review it.

Rolled over items

  • Toilet (WT)
  • First Aid kit (WT)
  • Defibrillator (WT)
  • Keys to the hut (SH)
  • Review of tenancy agreement/rules to clarify 6 month probationary period and 3 month review of progress and dealing with those who do just a small amount of work to stop the procedure then neglect their plot again. (JS)

Date of next meeting:  Wednesday 19th January at 7pm in the Admiral Rodney pub provided we can get agreement to this (JB)

Leaf Mulch

A member of the Park Estates Management team recently contacted the Association advising that they had a large amount Leaf Mulch available to anyone that is able to collect it.

If any tenant is interested in obtaining any, please contact me via email or txt and I will forward the contact details on to you.

John Stooke – Secretary

Water supply

Due to the weather becoming colder in the near future and the forecast for frost in the coming week, the water supply to site will be turned off Monday 22nd November at around 10am.

John Stooke


29th August 2021

Present:  John Stooke, Simon Hudson, Mark Robinson, Jane Bowden, Winnie Beck, Ray Bauser, Charles Dewa, Wendy Thomas, Tom Hutchinson

Apologies: Carol Brier

Observer:  Becky Bauser

Meeting opened at 10.35

The minutes from the previous meeting held 27th June 2021 were accepted. Proposed by WB and seconded by WT.

Matters Arising

  • Strategic/Financial Plan – Due to holidays etc., the group (JB, JR, MR and SH) had not met but JS would set up a meeting shortly
  • Annual Fees for FCA – JS still awaiting reply.  .
  • Lease –  Awaiting response from Council
  • Security – No further issues
  • Chippings complaint – this had now been dealt with including an apology from the Secretary
  • Sub committees – JS is working on setting these up
  • Guinea pig manure – Dave Kirkham, Steve Williams and Steve Yorke  are taking turns to collect this.  If people want any, they should contact them and they will deliver.  Bags must be used immediately to avoid problems with rats.  RB also offered to collect them. 
  • Chippings – these had been delivered to the top car park and had all been used.  More were needed.
  • BBQ and show date – 11th September.
  • Bonfires – it was proposed again that bonfires should be allowed on the Saturday of burning weekend.  Following discussion it was agreed to keep the status quo, i.e. bonfires only allowed on the second Sunday of the month, in order to avoid complaints from neighbours which might lead to all bonfires being banned by the Council.
  • Hedges – the main problematical hedges had now been sorted out
  • Noticeboards – JS is still working on the design of these.
  • Key Register needs updating – JS is in the process of doing this
  • Stock Control sheet for the shop.  JS/MR to devise something

Treasurer’s Report

MR explained that we currently have about £4000 in the bank of which about £1400 is available for spending (the rest is required for liabilities such as key deposits).  This means we are in a reasonable position.  The water bill is approximately £1000, again well within the budget of £2400.

Secretary’s Report

  • RB’s plot had been inspected by MR who felt that, given Ray’s plans to deal with some of the items on the plot, it was in an acceptable condition.  No more stuff should be brought to the plot.  A further inspection will be made as part of the normal routine of inspecting all plots.
  • Vacant plots – currently it’s likely that there will be 3 or 4 vacant plots including 2 and 27.  There was a discussion regarding ‘giving’ a plot to family members.  JS reiterated the policy that plots cannot be ‘bequeathed’ to family members unless the family member had been involved in working the plot over a period of time.  The relevant items in the Association policies, procedures and other rules needs identifying.  JS/JB 
  • Eviction procedure –  the Committee reviewed the documentation and procedure applied to a tenant who had failed to maintain and develop his plot.  It was agreed that the Secretary had followed the procedure fairly and correctly.
  • Waiting list – is currently about 200 but it is known that some of these are no longer interested in a plot.  JB offered to help JS update the list. JS to check that George is on the list.
  • Letter of resignation from the Committee from Roy Lawson.  This letter was read by the Committee and he was thanked for his service.  SH to pass on those thanks.
  • Maintenance Group confusion – It was reiterated that the idea of the sub groups  of the committee was to assist the secretary with key areas.  Generally, someone would take responsibility for convening the volunteers to sort out the work needed rather than doing it all themselves.  The idea of everyone having a role in the running of the site, rather than leaving it to a few, is key.  None of the sub committees will involve charging tenants.  If some tenants wish to advertise and provide a service to other tenants, e.g. hedge cutting, for an agreed price, that is fine and can be advertised.  However, this is not part of the Association  organisation. Where there is urgent work required, e.g. due to a fence being damaged, this needs referring to the Secretary who will sort out a repair.  In order to get repairs paid for by those doing damage, it’s important that evidence is collected such as a registration number or photograph of the incident showing the perpetrator. 
  • Trees – H and S issue – A number of trees were identified as potentially dangerous.  JS agreed to contact Network Rail.
  • Rent Invoice – JS explained that the new rules meant that the rent bills must now be referred to as an invoice and must be numbered.  It was clarified that we offer a 25% reduction on the rent for one plot to those in receipt of benefits such as state pension.  The Council give a much higher reduction (50%) but this is on a considerably higher rate.  Rents cannot be increased until an AGM and 6 months notice of a proposed increase must be given.  Currently there is no need for an increase.  JS will revise the invoice letter for next year’s rent round.
  • BBQ – SH to sort out wine, JS to purchase 100 burgers at £1 each and will absorb the cost of any left over.  It was agreed that the event would be open to outsiders via a notice on the gate which will be left open.   JS to invite Jo Tarrant and suggest she judges some of the entries.  Raffle prizes to go to Steve Yorke.  The week before the event more prizes will be bought if necessary.

Any other Business

  • Scrap – people should not be bringing scrap such as a bedstead onto site for collection by scrap merchants. This goes against the rules of the Association.  JS to remind people.
  • Glass – there is a lot of glass on the car park which could be a H and S issue.  The window frames need to be stacked neatly in a bay in the recycling area so tenants can take them away for their use.  RB/JS
  • Polytunnel – WB asked about the Association’s insurance in relation to her vandalised polytunnel. MR to send policy information to SH to print off to give to WB.
  • First Aid Kit/Accident book/Defibrillator  – WT agreed to sort out a first aid kit to be left in the polytunnel.  This will need publicising (JS) and securing in some way.  JS had purchased an Accident Book which will also be left in the polytunnel and will need publicising.  All agreed a defibrillator would be a good thing to have on site although it would cost about £1500 plus rolling costs of getting it checked etc.  WT had already found information and would explore funding /grant opportunities. 
  • Keys to the Association hut – because of the nature of the keys, these need to be cut by a locksmith.  SH to get some done.
  • Toilet – WT to find out about providing a toilet, e.g. a compostable one, on site.
  • Disabled people and the Waiting List – following a request from a registered disabled person, the question of whether those with a disability should be given preference in terms of the waiting list was debated.  Ultimately, it was agreed that this should not happen.  Many of our gardeners have a disability already and non disabled people should not be penalised.  There was a wider discussion about the idea of supporting people who have an interest in allotmenting but who don’t perhaps have the knowledge or skills initially.  A ‘mentoring’ scheme was discussed, particularly in relation to the individual who had applied although he could put his name down as per normal. JS reported that, in future, he intended making the 6 month probationary period and the 3 month review of progress much clearer to new tenants.  This should cut down the time involved in removing those who fail to work their gardens appropriately.  There may also need to be a review of the procedure to deal with people who repeatedly do a minimum to stop the procedure then fall behind again
  • Working parties – JS suggested that a WP would be needed on 25th September for plot 27 and one on 12th September possibly for plot 2.  TBC by JS.
  • JS agreed to add RB to the list of names on the volunteer sheet.
  • There would be an extra coffee morning on BH Monday run by SH and Shaun.  The usual coffee mornings on the first and 3rd weekends of the month need advertising on noticeboards (JS)

Date of next meeting:  TBC

Meeting closed at 12.30

This years annual burning week will begin on Monday 1st of November and end on Sunday 7th of November.

Materials should NOT be brought on to site for burning, and remember that the burning of any material that produces black or toxic smoke should not be burnt, eg;, Plastics or oil based waste products such as rubber, felt, and paint products, these should taken from site and disposed of in the appropriate way.

Remember to burn safely, and ensure your fire is extinguished before leaving the site.



                               EXHIBITING          10  –  12:30

                               BARBECUE            12:30 

                               JUDGING               12:30  –  1

                               PRESENTATION    1  –  1:15

                               AUCTION               1:45

                               RAFFLE                   TBC on the day


To give me some idea of the numbers that I will be catering for, please email me at opfgha.secretary@gmail.com or send me a text to 07565 873820 with how many people will be in your group, it would also help me if I know how many children are likely to be attending.

On the Saturday and Sunday of the 1st and 3rd weekend of each month between 11am and 1pm we will be having a “COFFEE MORNING” which will be held in the Association hut/poly tunnel.

Come along, have a coffee and meet other tenants for a chat, share ideas and gardening tips.  

The Secretary will be in attendance on the Sunday of each weekend should you wish to discuss anything Association related, in addition, in the run up to this years “Barbecue & Show” Steve Yorke will be attending 12 – 1pm to give advice, should any tenant require it, on produce and/or flowers that they are entering into the show.

Coffee and biscuits will be supplied free of charge, but please bring your own mug, I’m sure most of you have one in your shed,  this will save on buying cardboard cups which are quite expensive. 

At some point in the near future a list of dates for these coffee mornings will be put up on the notice boards.