MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Well how to start…… What a year we have all had to endure.

Firstly I hope you are all safe and well, and continuing to protect yourselves and your families through this difficult period in all our lives.

2020 started off like any other year, but no one could foresee what we were all about to go through, and continue to do so.

Sadly we lost 2 of our  tenants earlier in the year, Pete Eady and Eddie Scothern, and I’m sure they will both be missed by many. 

As it hasn’t been possible to have the regular working parties I would like to give a big THANK YOU to Steve Willams and Steve Yorke for the effort they continue to put in around the site doing some of the work we would normally do on a working party.  I would also like to give thanks to Roy Lawson and Martin Spilsbury for all the effort and the time they gave in assisting Christine Scothern, and thanks to Jane Bowden for all the time she has spent on a lot of administration tasks.

The Officers, Committee and myself would like to wish you a safe and Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, look after yourselves and your families and we will see you all in 2021.

John Stooke – Secretary

CHRISTMAS RAFFLE

The Chairman (Simon Hudson) has over the past couple of weeks been organising a Christmas raffle. Prizes include chocolates, wine and beer.

The raffle will be drawn at 12 o’clock Sat 19th of December.

Each tenant will be allocated a FREE ticket that corresponds to their plot number.

Unfortunately due to current restrictions having people in attendance will not be possible so the draw will be made by John Stooke, Simon Hudson and Mark Robinson with  1 other member who is not a member of the committee.

Simon Hudson will make contact and arrange delivery of prizes.

MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING 1st DEC 2020

Present:-  John Stooke, Simon Hudson, Mark Robinson, Jane Bowden.

The Chairman (SH) opened the meeting at 19:10.

The minutes from the committee meeting held 22nd October 2020 were discussed and were proposed by MR and accepted by SH.

Treasurer:- MR gave his financial report for Oct 2020 and this was understood and accepted by those present. JB outlined the council’s comments with regards to a contribution towards the cost of the fence that was installed along the perimeter of Winnie’s plots earlier in the year, MR agreed to follow up on this. 

Secretary:- JS advised that after a walk around the site that he had identified only a couple of hedges that would need to be addressed prior to our January inspection and that he would contact the tenants in question requesting that they make significant progress prior to the inspection.

A few tenants had raised the issue of the number of rats that have been sighted on site, but after discussion it was decided that poison was not an option at the moment due to  other wildlife being sighted that would potentially feed on rodents. JS advised that he would put out a request via the website asking gardeners to avoid storing Guinea pig compost in bags or anything else there plots that may offer an attractive shelter/nesting place for rats.

Due to the continuing wet weather JS raised the matter of the lanes by the railway and the post office being damaged by vehicles, it was agreed by all that these lanes would be closed for the time being.

Having a skip on site for a week in December was discussed and it was agreed by all that a skip would be ordered for week commencing 14th December.

Other business:- MR raised a point from Roy Lawson with regards having i n person/face to face committee meetings, it was agreed that at the moment those type of meetings would have to be postponed until the spring at the earliest, depending on government guidance and until such a time meetings would be held via the Teams or Zoom apps.

SH (Chairman) raised the possibility of having a christmas raffle, this was subsequently discussed and it was agreed that the association would fund a number of small prizes and that the raffle would be held on the 19th of December at 12o’clock on site. SH agreed to arrange the purchase and later the delivery of prizes to tenants. JS advised that he would advise of the raffle via the website and site notice boards.

Next Committee Meeting via Teams or the Zoom app 19th January 2021.

Meeting closed at 20:15

SITE SECURITY

It has been noted that on a number of occasions of late the main gate has been left open or closed but not locked.

Please remember that site security is the responsibility of every tenant and you should ensure that the gate is closed and locked securely when entering or leaving the site.

Due to the continuing wet weather the lanes by the railway and in the bottom corner of the site are becoming waterlogged.

Having reviewed the weather for the coming week it has been agreed that these lanes will be closed to vehicles for time being and physical restrictions have been put in place.

The lanes will be inspected regularly and will be reopened as soon as possible.

AGM minutes

 OLD PARK FARM ALLOTMENTS

Minutes of AGM held at 10am on 30th August 2020

Present:  John Stooke, Mark Robinson, Dave Kirkham, Jane Bowden, Steve Porter, Simon Hudson, Barry Mitchell, Lesley Hurst, Mick Tagg, Alan Gonzalez, Matthew Whyman, Steve Yorke, Ray Bauser, Carol Brier, Adrian Robins, Roy Lawson, Steve Williams, Kay Graham, Paul Sanders, Ronnie Gayle, Charles Dewa, Joseph Watson, Winnie Beck, Adam Peall, Alethea Lucas, David Hurt, Tina Tylen, Matthew Ford.

Apologies: 

Minutes from last year’s AGM held on 17th March 2019:  These were proposed by Kay Graham and seconded by Steve Williams.

Chair’s Report:

John Stooke welcomed everybody and thanked them for attending.  He thanked everyone who had helped him in his role and those who have helped on the working parties in the past year.  It had been a particularly difficult year with the impact of Covid 19.  Steve Yorke reported on the water situation.  7 taps had been left on overnight so far this year resulting in the loss of approximately £120 worth of water.  5 people had been spoken to about this but 2 had not been identified.

Treasurer: 

Mark Robinson went through the accounts pointing out that in round figures the income had been £7300, capital projects such as fencing had cost £3700 leaving us with about £4500 in the bank although that will be nearer £3000 by the end of September.  There are more projects that will require funding including renovating the community hut and replacing fencing at the front of the site.  There were no questions about the accounts.

Secretary

Dave Kirkham explained that he had taken on the role to stop the site becoming a Direct Let site with the consequent rise in rentals, and this had been achieved. 

His priorities had been:

·         to get tenants for all the 15 vacant plots and this had been achieved.  He asked that everyone engaged in welcoming and helping new plot holders.

·         to improve communication by using the website and the noticeboard

·         to improve consistency in applying the rules of the Association and the Tenancy Agreement.  This had been difficult as different people see things differently and it had been difficult to get people to follow the requirements of the Tenancy Agreement.  He had given some flexibility but that led to dissatisfaction from other allotment holders.  It is not easy to keep everyone happy!

Dave indicated that he would be stepping down as Secretary due to pressure of work, although he would continue to offer help where needed.  He thanked everyone who had helped him carry out his role, in particular Steve Yorke and Steve William who work tirelessly for the Association.  However, it was vital that more people got involved in the work required to keep the site going and he suggested that everyone should give at least 1 hour per month throughout the year to work on the site outside their garden.  In addition he asked that garden holders support the Committee by trying to solve their own problems, both practical and social.

Business for discussion

John Stooke went through the notes of the meeting with James Dymond and Jo from the Council.  The key points were discussed.

·         Legal Status: John Stooke reported on the Barry Mitchell asked about what had happened to the CIC and where it was minuted that it was no longer required.  He favoured going back to that as he felt it was the cheapest option.  John Stooke offered to look through the minutes.  Jane Bowden explained that CIC status did not fit well with our purpose whereas a Co-operative did and that was the strong recommendation from the NASLG.

·         New Lease:  John Stooke explained that the Council had agreed to postpone the introduction of the new lease and the rent review provided we sent a letter confirming that we would be prepared to accept it within the next year.  We had agreed to do that provided the Council got the leak in Old Coach Road sorted out.  After that we would take out insurance against future leaks.  We should get the final lease soon.

·         Chickens:  Ray Bauser asked about keeping chickens.  John Stooke explained that the Council were neither for nor against it but did have strict rules for welfare which needed to be followed.  The Association had a long standing rule about no livestock other than bees, and if a gardener wished to appeal that decision they should apply to the Council and get their permission in writing.

·         In future if we fail an inspection we will be in breach of our lease. 

·         Asbestos:  The Council will continue to collect asbestos and any asbestos found on site should be moved to the brick hut by the lower gate.  It is important that people do not go in there for other reasons.

·         Fires: The Council had confirmed that there was no right to have fires on any site.  Our rules allowed burning on one Sunday a month as a way of keeping neighbouring houses and businesses happy.  Roy Lawson asked that this be reviewed to allow fires on the Saturday as well as the second Sunday so that there could be smaller fires in braziers rather than a large communal bonfire.

·         Committee:  A key message from the Council had been that we must keep our Committee active in order to keep our status and to keep rents low.

AOB

·         Barry Mitchell asked about the last inspection.  We had passed the inspection and therefore got our rebate eventually, but there were a number of points of concern including the fence (replaced), the railway fence (replaced), overgrown hedges and barbed wire.  A request was made for tenants to be told about the results of inspections for their plot but the Council did not report in this way. 

·         Roy expressed concern about the plot next to his which is badly overgrown and which was having a negative impact on his plot.  David Kirkham explained that this had been one of the projects for the previous day’s working party but there had been insufficient helpers to tackle it.  In future it may be that we have to look at paying contractors to tackle jobs like this if we don’t have volunteers but this will mean higher rents.  The tenant has now left this plot but it does need attention including looking at the quality of the soil. 

·         John Stooke pointed out that the Council had indicated that the height of hedges was not the major issue but that care of them was.  They wanted hedges to be regularly trimmed throughout the year but cut between October and February.  For those people having trouble keeping their hedges under control, John Stooke has the details of a gardener who will do them for a small fee.

·         Website:  Roy asked about the password protected part of the website which isn’t active.  We need to recruit someone to support us with IT as currently Steve Medcalf is still doing it.  Karol Williams agreed to set up a Facebook page for the Association.

Election of Officers and New Committee

The following people were proposed and seconded:

Chair:  Simon Hudson

Secretary: John Stooke

Treasurer:  Mark Robinson

Committee Members:

Jane Bowden

Charles Dewa

Winnie Beck

Mick Tag

Carol Brier

Roy Lawson

Ray Bauser

Tom Hutch

Thanks to Ronnie Gayle, Vanessa Odell, Steve Williams and Dave Kirkham who are standing down for their work over the years.

Simon Hudson spoke about his aim as Chair being to be available to everyone to discuss issues and issued a general invitation to meet him in his allotment for a cup of tea or beer (BYO!) and chat.  He expressed a wish to create a more sociable ‘family’ feel to the Association.

It was agreed that we would put a list of Committee members on the notice board and website with contact details for the Chair and Secretary and plot numbers for others.     

Meeting closed at 11.15am                       

Next AGM:  31st March 2021

Compost delivery

A delivery of compost is expected this coming Friday 20th November at around 9am. A few bodies to help offload into the hut would be greatly appreciated so please email, txt or call John Stooke to advise if you are able to assist:   oldparkfarmcic@gmail.com or 07565 873820

Social distancing guidelines will be followed and John is happy to supply a mask to anyone that requires one.

Chairman opened the meeting at 19:15

Present:   John Stooke, Simon Hudson, Carol Brier, Roy Lawson.

Apologies:   Mark Robinson, Jane Bowden, Charles Dewa, Tom Hutchinson, Mick Tagg.

Minutes of the meeting held on 28th of July 2020 were discussed and accepted, proposed by S. Hudson, seconded by J. Stooke.

Matters Arising:

Rats   S. Hudson and R. Lawson raised the issue of an increasing number of rats that have been spotted on site. They believe that this may be a result of tenants storing guinea pig manure on gardens rather than digging it in as soon as they collect it from the car park. JS to look onto this.

Perimeter fence:   JS raised the subject of the fence S. Hudson’s plot on Old Coach Road, it was agreed by all those present that we would go ahead and get it done.

Bursaries:  JS discussed bursaries paid to officers and it was agreed by all present  that the Chairman’s bursary should be reinstated, JS to discuss with M.Robinson (Treasurer).

Vacant plots:   JS advised that there were 8 plots available at the end of September and he successfully let 6 of them, currently plot 4 and 71 are available. 

Gate Keys:  JS raised the issue of the amount of gate keys have been lost, (20).  It was agreed that by all present that there hadn’t been any issues with regards to security of the site and we would look to having a small number of new keys cut rather than change the locks and subsequently all tenants hgate keys.

Hedges:   RL raised the issue of some hedges on site are getting out of hand, these were identified and JS advised that he is he process of contacting the tenants to discuss getting them cut.

Burning week: It was agreed by all present that burning week this year would run from the 2nd to the 8th of November inclusive.

AOB:

CB advised that a new Facebook page had been set up and any issues or suggestions/queries should be directed to her.

Old Park Farm Allotments Bilborough

RL raised the subject of a letter that he sent into the association mid August. In the letter he raised issues that he has had with an increasing amount of weeds which he believes has been caused by the plot next to him which has been overgrown for the  last 2 years and has requested that he receive a discount on his rent this year. JS advised that it would be unethical for the committee to vote and grant a reduction as he is now a member of the committee, so JS to discuss with the Chair and Treasurer and advise RL of the decision no later than the 5th November.

Next Committee Meeting to be held via Teams on 25th November 2020 at 7pm.

Meeting closed at 21:30.