Tuesday, 30 October 2012

AGM 14th October 2012

1.     The accounts for the Society were presented by the Treasurer (David Jackson) and certified by the Auditor (Christine Hargraves). Members determined that the accounts be accepted as a true and fair statement of the Society’s Finances. Copies of the audited accounts (and the Open Day returns) have been placed in the Brew Room.

2.     The Treasurer reported that the Council’s budgets seem very limited, and that we must expect to have to make and pay for all repairs, improvements, services on the site ourselves. The monies raised through the shop, Open Day etc. will become essential if we are to do this.

3.     The meeting was advised that in accordance with the decisions of the previous EGM, an Industrial and Provident Society (Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd.) has been registered as a co-operative with the Financial Services Authority.

3.1.                     Therefore a list will be drawn up of all those eligible to be members of that Industrial and Provident Society – i.e. all plot-holders and registered buddies on plots on the Harpers Lane site -  and posted in the Brew Room. Please check this list to ensure that husbands, wives, partners etc. who wish to be voting members of the Industrial and Provident Society have been included.  If not, get Margaret to register them as ‘buddies’.

3.2.                     The meeting decided that everyone on the above list be then invited to take up a £1 share in the co-operative (i.e. you pay £1 and you get a share).  This is a one-off payment, not an annual fee. It is holding the £1 share that gives you the right to vote in meetings of the co-operative. (Please note that by a decision of the previous EGM, in the event that the site becomes self-managing, voting on any motion that sets plot-rents etc. is restricted to one vote per tenancy).

       It should be noted that as an Industrial and Provident Society, we will be obliged to hold four meetings of the full membership (the AGM and three EGMs) each year. The next EGM will be in January 2013. 

4.     The meeting approved a previous EGM decision that a proposal be submitted to Bolton Council that Harpers Lane Allotment site become self-managing.

4.1.                     The Self-management Steering Group has proposed that this be done in two stages

4.1.1.  A two-year period in which the co-operative acts as a managing agent on the site and is paid a fee by the Council for so doing

4.1.2.  After that interim period, the co-operative would sign a 15-20 year Business Tenancy Agreement with the Council. Under that agreement the co-operative will lease the site from the Council at an agreed rent and on agreed terms

4.1.3.  The terms of both agreements will be negotiated between the Council and the Directors of the Co-operative and any contract would be subject to the approval of a meeting of the co-operative membership (an EGM).

4.1.4.  The Council has requested that the co-operative submit a detailed Business Plan for their consideration. This plan was submitted on behalf of the Directors on 23rd October 2012.

4.1.5.  The Co-operative has no intention at present, or in the foreseeable future of taking on the management of the garage colony.

5.     The meeting elected the following members to act as the Committee of the Society (they will also form the initial Board of Directors of Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd.)

5.1.                     Chair:             Rob Hellyer

5.2.                     Site Secretary:         Margaret Jackson

5.3.                     Treasurer:                David Jackson – David will also initially act as           Company Secretary for the I&PS.

5.4.                     Committee:  Gill Chamberlain, Barry Savage, Stephen Duckworth, Glyn Platt


6.     The meeting decided that the Society / Co-operative should become a member of the National Society of Allotments and Leisure Gardens (thus severing its links to the Allotment Gardens Council)


7.     The meeting decided that Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd. should become a member of Co-operatives UK in order to benefit from the free legal services available to newly formed co-operatives. 


8.     The meeting decided that Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd. will establish new banking accounts in a format acceptable to grant-awarding and other funding bodies.

9.     The meeting decided that the residual assets of the Society be transferred to its successor, the Industrial and Provident Society (the ‘co-operative’) to be known as ‘Harpers Lane Allotments Limited’.

10.            Under the rules of the current Society, membership applies to a plot, rather than the individuals working it, hence the subscription is per plot. In order to meet the legal requirements of the I&PS, (in which ‘membership’ comes by possessing a single £1 share), it is preferable to rename such subscriptions as ‘membership fees’. In the light of the decisions made previously (particularly the decision to rejoin the NSALG) the meeting voted to set membership fees per plot for the year 2013 (Jan – Dec) at £9.00 for plots where the plot-holder is under 60, and £7.00 for plots where the plot-holder is 60 or over. We’re sorry if this sounds complicated but we’re trying to find our way through this transition period as best we can.

11.            The meeting decided that up to £500 of the Society’s current Reserves should be spent on a new strimmer / brush-cutter, subject to a suitably robust machine being available for that price.

12.            The meeting also felt that the Society’s current strimmer and generator should be professionally serviced in time for the 2013 growing season.

13.            The meeting instructed the Site Secretary to see whether, under schemes such as the Council’s Self-Help scheme, road mending materials could be obtained and a working party set up to resolve the problems with the bottom road.

14.            At the request of the Site Secretary a Working Party was formed to oversee the planning and implementation of the 2013 Open day event. The Working Party will consist of:- June Catterall, Susan Jones, Pauline Liptrott, and Doreen Wyatt. It is hoped that other sub-committees and working parties can be created during the year to help spread the load of managing the site.

15.            The meeting ended with the award of the Society’s Prizes as follows:-

Plot of the Year
(Albert Parker Trophy)
Plot 15 – Susan and Tony Torkington
Half-plot of the Year
(Hospital Saturday Trophy)
Plot 30 – June Catterall
Best Newcomer
(Barron Trophy)
Plot 25 – Owen Jeffrey
Most Improved Plot
(Brian Caswell Trophy)
Plot 8 – Christine and Mike Hargraves
Most Improved Half-Plot
(Joan Caswell Trophy)
Plot 4 – Maureen and Mike Waite
Best Frontage
(Walker Challenge Trophy)
Plot 39 – Maureen and Mick Riley
Tallest Sunflower
(Jools Rigby Trophy)
Plot 15 – Susan and Tony Torkington
Outstanding Contribution to the Society
(Jubilee Trophy)
Plot 9 – Tom and Pauline Liptrott



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