Monday, 22 April 2013

Arrangements about the Co-operative's role on the site



 This document covers the matters discussed as part of the ongoing dialogue about the Harpers Lane Allotment Society (now Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd) having a greater role in the management of Harpers Lane Allotments over the next 5-10 years.

 The Council support the initiatives and projects envisaged by the Directors / Co-operative to adjust the balance between communal and individual plots on the site. The Council support the Co-operative’s projects to create new growing spaces / opportunities through joint working with the Woodlands Officer. The Council support initiatives such as training courses, mentoring and the provision of seeds, plants etc. to new and aspiring plot-holders. The Council sees this as an important element of the 5-10 year programme referred to above.

 The following section sets out the Council’s understanding of the roles currently carried out by the Society and the Council and the changes which will come into effect from 1st April 2013.

 Functions currently carried out by the Society:

         Identify plots that appear vacant, and then proposing whether they should be let as ‘fullsized’ or ‘half plots’

         Use the waiting list maintained by the Council to contact potential tenants, arrange for them to visit the site, and if they take the plot (or half-plot), helping complete their registration forms. These forms then go to the Horticultural Officer who arranges for a Tenancy Agreement to be drawn up.

         On occasion arrange transfers between allotments on the site.

         Register ‘buddies’, a buddy being a person who is helping an existing plot-holder with their plot on a consistent basis over a period of time and who thus acquires certain rights to take over that plot should the primary plot-holder discontinue.

         Conduct a monthly inspection of the site and advising the Horticultural Officer of any problems relating to tenants’ cultivation of their plots.

         Report to the Horticultural Officer any emergency actions required e.g. replacement of padlocks, repairs to toilet facilities or water supplies.

         Refer any complaints or issues raised by tenants to the Horticultural Officer.

         Clean the toilets and amenity building on site.

         Pay for the electricity supply to the amenity building on site

         Carry out minor maintenance of the site infrastructure and building, directly at the Society’s cost, or by providing volunteer labour to utilise materials supplied by the Council (within the constraints of the Council’s limited resources).

         Refer urgent maintenance issues, which might have a health & safety implication, to the Horticultural Officer.

From 1st April 2013 the following additional functions will be added to the role of the Society:

         Cutting the grass on the communal areas.

         Weed-killing along the roads and verges

         Seeking grants to enable the maintenance and improvement of the site, as agreed with the Council if not covered by the existing agreement.

For its part Bolton Council will:

         Register all applications for plots.

         Maintain the waiting list.

         Issue Tenancy Agreements.

         Set & collect the rents.

         Operate a permission system covering the erection of structures and the keeping of livestock.

         Issue and Enforce Notices served under Section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925, relating to breaches of tenancy agreements.

         Carry out maintenance, which otherwise might have a health & safety implication, of the site infrastructure i.e. roadways, fences, gates (including providing replacement padlocks), mains water supply to standpipes & the Amenity Building and sewers, within the constraints of available resources.

         Maintain the structure of the Amenity Hut and toilets on the site, within the constraints of available resources.

         Arrange for the water supplies to the Amenities Hut, toilets and standpipes to be switched on at Easter and switched off in the Autumn (water is available for 26 weeks).

         Pay the water bills submitted by United Utilities.

         Respond to complaints and requests from tenants or the Society, within the constraints of available resources.

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