Friday, 15 April 2016

Minutes 12.04.2016

HARPERS LANE COMMITTEE MEETING
12.04.2016 – 7.30 P.M. AT HOLLYWOOD RD. SOCIAL CLUB
Present: Keith Worsley (Chair), Margaret Jackson (Sec), David Jackson (Treasurer), Kath Worsley, Glyn Platt, Pev Evans
Apologies from Veronica Burns. The Committee wish her a speedy recovery from her recent foot operation.

SUBSCRIPTIONS
Subscriptions are now due - £10 / £8.
Members will receive a free bag of Revive compost when they renew their subscription (While stocks last). Subscriptions should be paid at the shop on Sunday mornings or to any Committee member.

State of the Amenities Building
The up and over door which permits entry to the shop is giving problems. Ideally it needs to be replaced. In the meantime we need two additional keys.
Mr and Mrs Lodmore have volunteered to fit a new lock on the Ladies’ toilet. The Committee wishes to express its thanks for this.
An application has been made for Area Forum Funds to assist in the renovation of the Amenities Building. This needs chasing up through Cllr. Roger Hayes.
The area in front of the Amenities Building needs scraping off to prevent flooding of the building, we may be able to co-operate with other sites to arrange this (see www.abas2014.blogspot.co.uk for details)
Main Gate
There are again reports of difficulty with the lock on the main gate. If this lock fails we have no source of replacements of this lock. We will revert to one of the standard Council Locks (supplies of which we have now secured). The key which all plot-holders have to access the Brew Room will fit this lock.
This year’s Charity
The Committee selected MacMillan Cancer Support as this year’s charity
Open Day
It is now proposed that Open Day (and the Show which is part of it) will be held on Sunday September 11th 2016.
The event has been put back due to a number of those who are normally involved being on holiday at the normal date, and to avoid clashing with other Open Days by neighbouring Societies and the Bolton Show (20/08/2016)
We will be organising an Open Day Planning meeting.
We are hoping for Radio promotion (Bolton FM) of the event – Glyn will be taking the lead on this.
There was some discussion about possible locations for advertising banners and also whether new ones should be printed. Pev is looking into this.
Dave will arrange posters and leaflets as usual.
We will need volunteers to leaflet the area as usual.
It was decided that we will again have a Scarecrow Competition this year – there will be no theme, members are free to choose any subject they like.
Margaret will check to make sure that the Appalachian Dancers are available. Pev is checking on a possible choir.
The Committee decided not to hold a Spring Event in May
Open Sundays
As those of you who follow council policy will know the Council is now allowing the Society to have regular open events and to use those events to sell ‘surplus’ produce for Society funds.
The Committee was minded to use our current open Sundays (when the ‘shop’ is open etc.) to stage such sales but has found little enthusiasm for this venture from members. However, we are interested in your views. Should we be doing this? On what sort of terms would you be willing to participate? Please let us know.
One suggestion has been to use the cooking facilities in the Brew Room to run a café on Open Sundays. This would involve the Society registering as a food business and being inspected and given a hygiene rating. What do you think of this idea? Would you use the facility?
Maher Cup
Each year as part of the Society Show on Open Day we select a vegetable which growers enter in the Maher Cup competition. This year’s vegetable is the ONION – either white or red, but not shallots or leeks. Normal show rules e.g. 3 onions on a plate will apply.
Newsletter
It was agreed to produce a Newsletter to be circulated to all plot-holders on the site covering:
  • ·         Payment of Subscriptions
  • ·         What ‘subs’ cover (e.g. NAS membership, abas membership, public liability assurance, Amenity Building electricity bills, Toilet Rolls and cleaning materials, manure deliveries (if we have to pay for them) etc.)
  • ·         Open Day details
  • ·         Maher Cup
  • ·         The decision not to hold a Spring Event in May (but to include the questions about ‘open Sundays’)


The D-area
The D-area is the area of rough ground below the Amenities Building on which we hold bonfires.
Most of this area has been covered with blue sheeting by Pev Evans to suppress weeds. The Committee wishes to thank Pev for doing this.

Bolton Allotment Competitions
The Committee has identified potential entrants in the Greenhalgh Trophy (for smaller plots) and the New Entrants Trophy (in which last year Harpers Lane came 1st and 2nd). The Secretary will be contacting those plot-holders in the near future to see if they wish to be put forward.

Any plot-holders who wish to be put forward for either the above trophies or for the Fairhurst Trophy (full-size plots) should contact the Secretary or another Committee member.

The Committee has also decided to enter the site in the Rosebowl Competition for Best Site in the Borough.

Toilets Rota
Two toilet cleaning rotas are being set up. One (men) to do the gents and one (women) to do the ladies. Volunteers are needed. The society provides rubber gloves, cleaning materials, brushes, toilet rolls etc. Please contact the Secretary or another Committee member if you’d like to help.

Wood Chippings and Manure

There should still be regular deliveries of wood chippings. Please use on a first come, first served basis.

Manure deliveries are more problematical. There are difficulties with the current supplier. If these cannot be resolved the Secretary will obtain supplies from another source. However the society will have to pay delivery costs on these. At present however, there are no plans to charge members.

Actions
The Committee approved the purchase of a large sealed water container to be connected to the guttering of the Amenities Building. This water will be saved so that during winter (when the mains supplies are cut off) it can be used by members. A primary use will be to flush the toilets so that they can continue to be used in the winter months.

The Committee approved further investigation of a Green Waste Skip for members to dispose of weeds. The Committee did not feel it could (at present) approve the hire of a general skip which costs over twice as much, but this will be kept under review.

Summer Solstice
The Society will hold a Bonfire Event on June 18th to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Details are to be finalised.

Society Show
The Show is a central part of Open Day.
The Secretary has already arranged the judges.
We now need volunteers to help with Show administration and marshalling.

The Site Roads
There have been complaints about the state of both the top and bottom roads,

Current information suggests that we are unlikely to be able to persuade the Council (whose responsibility site roads is) to do any work on them this year. The cuts to Council resources are well known.

Some sites within abas are looking to band together to try to arrange contractors etc. to a block of work in the Borough. Abas is also trying to get the Council to extend its self-help scheme and give more help with sourcing materials (like cold planings).

We need to explore whether grants are available to us – a potential source is the National Allotment Gardens Trust – but in past years many funders have refused grants for such capital works either because we have no collective lease on the site or because they see roads as the landlord’s (i.e. the Council’s) responsibility.
We’ll continue to look into this both individually and with colleagues in abas.
(The Treasurer would like to ask if anyone is interested in becoming involved in grant applications. IT would be useful to form a funding sub-committee as the process of identifying funders and completing applications can be energy and time consuming.)
‘Paths’
There have been some queries about paths on the site, and rights of access etc.
The Society is not responsible for the maintenance of any paths.

Each plot-holder is responsible for the maintenance of one path along one boundary of their plot. The plot-holder has the right to access their plot using this path.

For these purposes the term path does NOT imply it’s paved or gravelled etc. simply that it is a ‘clear’ means of access.
We may need to clarify in each individual case which path each plot-holder is responsible for.

We are conscious that a number of paths between plots have vanished over the years and that a number of paths are now effectively ‘shared’. Such arrangements should not be disrupted lightly.

The use of any other path is by the invitation / consent of the responsible plot-holder.

There is no general right to use paths to get from the top road to the bottom road. That’s what the roads are for. If you wish to have access then you must agree with the plot-holders whose paths you are using.

Plot-holders are reminded that there should be a two foot gap between any plot boundary and any structure or other impediment on the plot. This two-foot gap was frequently referred to as ‘the path’ by the former Allotments Officer. Effectively this could be held to mean there’s a four foot strip of clear ground between the used areas of each pair of plots.

The ‘Shop’
As members will be aware the Society operates a facility whereby we purchase a range of allotment supplies in bulk and then resupply them (at cost plus a very small handling charge) to society members.  This facility is usually called the shop, and is open most Sundays from 12.00 to 1.00 p.m.

The running of the shop is increasingly falling on a very small number of volunteers. It is becoming very difficult to ensure that the shop can be open every Sunday. If you see the shop as a valuable resource and maybe would even like to see it open more often or for longer hours, please consider joining the volunteers. IF you’re interested please contact the Secretary.


The next Committee Meeting will be on 10th May at 7.30 p.m. – Hollywood Social Club.

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