MINUTES 05.03.2014 – a MEETING OF HARPERS LANE ALLOTMENTS SOCIETY
- Apologies for absence – Glyn Platt
- Minutes of last meeting – 15.01.2014 - agreed
- Secretary’s Report
- Resuming Monthly Site Inspections and Reports
i. We have three empty plots (41 – full plot, 55B – ¼ plot, 60A – ½ plot) – we have no names on the waiting list – we await Malcolm Russell’s new list.
iii. Other Breaches of Tenancy – site inspections will resume after Easter for both mal-cultivation and other breaches of tenancy.
- Plots 41 and 60A – it was noted that these plots have been served notice by Council for non-payment – neither tenant has contacted the Society – no action was suggested
- Flooding on plots 40/41 – United Utilities have visited the site and tested the water – they believe it is coming from a diverted water course – they suggest we collect the water and use it – Gary Taylor has located a source of ‘tanks’ which could be used to collect the water and Malcolm Russell has said he will try to source some piping. Since plot 41 is empty – see above – work could begin on that plot – if the plot is designated a community plot we could apply for grant aid to fund the water collection system.
- Issues about the Top Field – there are a number of rumours about the Top Field which centre around the demolition of the hedge between the stables field and the top field, the removal of the hedge along the stables fields boundary with the back lane, and the poor state of the fencing along the back lane. This has severely decreased the security of the site. We are also concerned that the drainage system installed by the contractor on his land does not seem to link into any outlet drain but steers water under the gate onto plots 1, 2 and 3.
The Committee asked the Secretary to contact the owner of the stable field about these issues and also instructed her to make the Council aware of (i) the drainage issue, (ii) the fence issue and (iii) our continuing concerns about the top field.
It was agreed that IF the Council do not replace the fence OR Mr Whipp provide something more substantial we should consider building a temporary fence (wire and posts, backed with bramble, hazel etc.) and that we should promote the active use of the top field by the Society – either as new community plots, another community poly-tunnel, a new store, a secure container, more frequent events etc. It was suggested that we should consider whether the Show site could be moved elsewhere on the allotments to allow this (e.g. onto the D or onto a newly cleared area at the bottom of the site). It was also proposed that the Secretary should speak to Astley about a possible involvement of Church Rd. School on a plot in this area.
- Brew Room / Amenities Hut
i. Security / doors & windows – Mick C has suggested a means of making the Brew Room more secure - the Treasurer was instructed to contact Malcolm Russell over the proposed lease on the Amenities Hut which would permit us to apply for a grant to improve the security of the building and also allow us to do work on the Hut.
ii. Fitting oven etc. – Pev and David are to make the casing w/c 10/03 – Steve T will do wiring once he’s fit enough.
iii. Microwave – Pev offered a microwave
iv. The Committee instructed the Secretary to follow up the proposal that the Council’s Landscaping Section install drainage on the area above the Brew Room.
- Treasurer’s Report
- Finances Society (inc balances on grants)
Restricted Funds – ARI £52.40, CVS £169.42, Barclays Grant £100
Unrestricted Funds - £191.48
The Treasurer explained that subscriptions are now starting to come in, but the expected income from subscriptions will only bring Society funds up to the level needed to pay next December’s NSALG membership and the Site Insurance. It is therefore vital that income comes in from Open Day and / or other fundraising activities.
- Potential Grant Applications
i. Re: Amenities Hut – see item 3(e) plus more extensive bid under Awards for All
ii. Re: Container / Cabin – we have heard nothing more of MR’s offer to look for a container / cabin for us – it was felt that if that does not happen we should make the acquisition of a suitable cabin a priority and the subject of either a CVS or an Awards for All bid.
iii. Other Projects – e.g. wind turbine / solar panels, bees in woodland, reclaiming former plots – there is a need to develop a bidding strategy around these – the bees project is a priority – It is hoped that a group can be formed around Bob Smith and possibly Keith Worsley, perhaps chaired by Glynn Platt, which will seek funds and implement the bees project in the woodland area.
- Plot 1 – Update – progress on plot 1 was reported by Barry and Tom. The poly-tunnel is now functioning – the raised beds have been made and need to be installed outside poly-tunnel.
The primary need is for Top Soil to fill the beds both inside and outside the poly-tunnel – it was agreed that the £169 left in the CVS grant pot should be used for this purpose. Tom / Barry will arrange this before the end of March.
There remains some confusion about the use of Plot 1 and in particular the poly-tunnel (possibly due to previous misinformation). The position is clear.
The poly-tunnel and remodelling of plot 1 is being funded by a grant from Bolton CVS. The basis of the grant is as follows:-
The poly-tunnel will be used by the Society to raise collectively plants and seedlings which will then be made available to Society Members for transplanting onto their own plots.
The management and operation of the poly-tunnel has been placed in the hands of Tom and Barry who have the authotity to co-opt others. Any questions relating to what is being grown etc. should be directed to Tom or Barry.
As plants and seedlings become available they will then be made available at an agreed price to members – either directly from the poly-tunnel or through the shop/store operated by Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd. All income from such ‘sales’ will go to the Society.
Any surplus will be sold on through Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd either from the site or at e.g. Smithills Farmers Market. Income from these sales will be divided between Harpers Lane Allotments Ltd. and the Society.
The aim is that through these activities the poly-tunnel may be made self-financing and may even make a contribution to Society funds as well as providing an additional service to plot-holders.
The remaining area of Plot 1 (the external raised beds) is initially intended for use as an induction area for people taken off the waiting list.
If there are no suitable persons from the waiting list then the beds will be planted collectively by society members.
There is a proposal to plant the banking at the top of Plot 1 with soft fruit e.g. strawberries, gooseberries etc and / or herbs.
Produce raised in these areas will be disposed of according to the agreement reached at the AGM on 17.03 2014
It was agreed that the Secretary will place a large sign on the Amenities Hut and / or Plot 1 setting out this position for all members.
- Need for a First Aider – it was suggested that we approach St John Ambulance about Open Day – other events need further consideration – the location of the First Aid Box needs to be more widely advertised.
- Suggestions for a Spring Event – it was felt that ideas about an Easter Event should wait until next year – but that other events could be considered.
- Other fundraising ideas – collective activities e.g. cafe, jam making, sale of surplus produce etc. (see also decisions at the AGM 17.02) should be encouraged. However, we need more people involved in actually planning, fundraising and doing.
- Delegate(s) to AGM – National Allotment Society Saturday 7th June at the De Vere Village Hotel and Leisure, East Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8LL – it was agreed to ask for volunteers to attend this event (max 2)
The Treasurer reminded members of the need to maintain a separation between the activities of Harpers Lane Allotments Society – an unincorporated association which represents the plot-holders on the Harpers Lane Site and Harpers Lane Allotments Limited – an Industrial and Provident Society (Co-operative) which manages the Operational Management Agreement with the Council– including operating the allotment stores under an agreement with the Society.
To that end it was agreed that:-
Mrs Chamberlain will be the Chair of the SOCIETY
Mr Platt will be the Chair of Harpers Lane Allotments Limited.
Any current directors of Harpers Lane Allotments Limited (Mr and Mrs Jackson, Mr Platt, Mrs Chamberlain, Mr Savage) will (subject to their agreement to continue) still be eligible to be Committee members and officers of the Society.
‘New’ members of the Society Committee will NOT automatically be expected to become Directors of Harpers Lane Allotments Limited. That is a totally separate matter.
Meetings such as this one (05.03.2014) are meetings of the SOCIETY.
Should any matters arise in which the Society is e.g. considering commissioning services from Harpers Lane Allotments Limited, then those Committee members who are also Directors of HLAL should refrain from voting.
Matters solely relating to the Co-operative should be the subject of a separate meeting – which for convenience may be held before or after the Society meeting.
- Date and Time of Next Meeting – the next meeting will take place in the Finishers at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday April 16th 2014.
HARPERS LANE ALLOTMENTS LIMITED
As a matter of information those Committee members who are also Directors of HLAL were informed that current available funds are £377.
The Directors decided not to add additional items of stock to the store at the present time.
The Treasurer was instructed to obtain extra sets of keys for the shop / store for new members of the shop rota.
The scales used in the shop need to be checked.