Thursday, 22 September 2016


Minutes of the abas meeting on September 12th 2016

Astley Bridge Cricket Club

15 members present from 8 societies.
1 apology for absence – Tonge Moor Road

(The Committee are concerned that attendance at the monthly meetings is falling, and encourage all OMA sites (at least) to ensure that a representative attends).

The minutes of the August meeting having been previously posted on the abas blog-site, the Committee’s proposal that the minutes be accepted was accepted.

Matters Arising
Following the July meeting the Committee had emailed (12.07.2016) Mr Russell with the following points

  • Clarification of the rules about fires on allotments
  •            Multiple Plots at the same address
  • Bullying and Aggression on sites
  • Mal-cultivation Notices
No reply had been received to this email as of Monday 12th September or to Abas’ request for a Progress Meeting

Fires on Plots

So far 8 sites have submitted information to Jeff Gibson for use in the abas review of current Allotment Site Rules / Regulations (as stipulated by Bolton Council at various times and in different documents) on fires.

The Secretary was asked to email the remaining society secretaries to ask remind them.

Remember it’s not always “Allotments” who contacts us “Environmental Services” and “Environmental Standards” can also issue edicts.

The Committee wish to make it clear that this Review extends only to “fires on allotment plots and sites”, any widening of the remit will require an instruction from a subsequent meeting.

A member asked about a related issue namely that some plot-holders burn wood with paint etc. on their plots thus potentially contaminating the soil for future and / or neighbouring plot-holders. This member stated that the Council had a duty to conduct regular soil tests to check on contamination. The Committee agreed to check if this is indeed the case.

On-going Concerns

Moss Lea – No progress on the decision on communal vs individual greenhouses
Harpers Lane –No action on Pest Control or on promised repairs to Amenity Hut Door
Florence Avenue – No progress on the car park?
Shepherd Cross St – No information received

The Council says it’s proceeding with mal-cultivation notices and evictions.

Tonge Fold reported that the “Allotments section” had told them that the paperwork relating to a number of instances of mal-cultivation at their site had been filed without being actioned and that the process would need to begin again.

Rawlyn Road reported that they had received no updated waiting list and had plots they wished to let.

Abas is now conducting a survey as to how many mal-cultivation notices have been requested and what has happened.

Bolton Onion Leek and Vegetable Show

The show was an outstanding success – 25 classes and 149 entries. The Judging was by John Woods FNVS, the Trophies were presented by George Holmes DL Vice-Chancellor, University of Bolton

We wish to thank our sponsors – individuals and societies, University of Bolton, Big Bolton Fund (through Bolton CVS)

Cups and Awards Presented

ü  Abas shield (4 vegetables on a plate) – Les Butterworth (Tonge Fold)

ü  Secretaries’ Shield (most points in show) – Jeff Gibson (Tonge Fold)

ü  Stan Pickles Trophy, NVS Silver Medal and Certificate – (most meritorious vegetable in show) – Mrs Mary Wilson (Florence Ave)

ü  Bolton Allotments Council Challenge Trophy (site with most points) – Tonge Fold

ü  Abas Rosebowl – ‘Best’ Site – Dealey Road

We need feedback (email preferred) from entrants and visitors to support next year’s grant bid.
A selection of photos (taken by Jeff) has been posted on the blogsite

Events 2016
The events programme which we have publicised over the summer of 2016 has now concluded
We think it’s been a success, both in raising awareness of the benefits and importance of allotments to communities and in raising funds for the organising societies. It is possible that a short article about “Bolton’s Summer Season” may appear in the next edition of “Allotment and Leisure Gardener”

The Harrogate Trip
Unfortunately there are insufficient numbers to make booking a coach financially viable
The Trip has therefore been cancelled

Abas subs
Abas subscriptions for 2017 are now due and are being collected by the Treasurer (Terry Farrell).
Subscriptions are at the agreed new rate of £1.00 per member
Can society secretaries please try to pay subs either at or before the October abas meeting. Subscriptions (cheque made out to abas) can be sent to Terry at 13 Romer Street Bolton, BL2 6BG.
Disabled Access
A tenant on the Harpers Lane Site whose husband has recently been confined to a wheelchair contacted “Allotments” to enquire what help the Council could provide to enable him to access their plot.

She was informed that “Harpers Lane is a self-managed site and thus the Council cannot help, it’s the site society’s responsibility”. The Society argue that the person is a Council tenant and thus the Council bears some responsibility as landlord.

The Secretary has queried the Council’s response (HL is NOT a self-managed site, there are none in Bolton) with Malcolm Russell but has received no reply. NB Since the meeting a representative of the Council has visited HL to discuss the access problem and potential solutions. The Council hope to do some remedial work asap.

Grants (Access to sites and plots)
Age UK are managing a funding scheme called “Ambition for Aging” which has money to help projects to enable elderly and disabled people to more widely enjoy various facilities. The contact is

According to the rules this money must be shown to benefit residents of the following wards – Crompton, Halliwell and Tonge with Haulgh.
This emphasises the importance of knowing where our plot-holders live (at least for those of us whose sites do not lie in the selected wards).

Thanks to Dave Waring (Tonge Fold) for this lead

Any Other Business
A number of site societies feel that they are now doing work which they feel really should be carried out by Bolton Council as part of BMBC’s responsibility as the landlord.
Although many are willing to do this, they do not feel that BMBC support them in their efforts. Key issues are the Council’s delays in providing either lease or guaranteed usage statements to enable societies to apply for e.g. Lottery Funds.

This widened into a general feeling that the Council are not supporting Site Secretaries on OMA – there is a lack of communication and a lack of action from the sections concerned. The members present recognise that the Council has made a number of staffing and other resource cuts in response to the Government’s “austerity” measures. However the members wish to record their belief that allotments have been ‘unfairly’ treated and that the situation needs to improve.

The Committee were therefore instructed to organise a meeting to be attended by the relevant responsible elected members and the society secretaries to discuss the Council’s position and policies on allotments.

Such a discussion would also cover any possible impacts of the Greater Manchester Strategic Plan on allotment sites within the Borough.  
It is hoped that a preliminary / planning meeting can be held before Abas’ AGM on November 14th.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting is on 10th October at Astley Bridge Cricket Club

Start Time 8.00 p.m.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


We apologise for any delay in posting the minutes of last Monday's meeting.

There are just a couple of items we wish to clarify.

In the meantime societies may wish to investigate the Big Lottery Fund which is offering grants of between £300 and £10,000 to support projects.

Voluntary organisations with a constitution and a bank account are invited to apply.

To find out more go to

The September minutes will be posted as soon as possible

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show

Abas held the re-introduced Bolton Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show on August 20th at Trinity Church, Tonge Fold.

Below are some of the images from that event
Prof. George Holmes, Vice Chancellor, University of Bolton, presents the ABAS Shield (for "a collection of 4 Vegetables") to Mr Les Butterworth (Tonge Fold AS)

Prof. Holmes presents the Secretaries' Shield ("most points gained in the Show) to Mr Jeff Gibson (Tonge Fold AS)

Mrs Mary Wilson (Florence Ave AS) was awarded the Stan Pickles Trophy for "Most Meritorious Vegetable in Show" and also received the NVS Silver Medal

Mrs Sue Clegg (Tonge Fold AS) receives the Bolton Allotments Council Trophy for the Allotment Site with the most points on behalf of Tonge Fold AS

Mr David Urmston (Sapling Rd AS) receives the Fairclough Trophy for Best Larger Allotment in the Borough

Mrs Carol Deplitch (Dealey Road AS) receives the Rose Bowl for the best allotment site in the Borough

We'd like to thank Mr John Woods (National Vegetable Society) for being our judge at the event

We'd like to thank all our sponsors especially J Maher Limited, the University of Bolton, The Big Bolton Fund (through Bolton CVS), the National Allotments Gardens Trust and all the individuals and societies who sponsored classes at the Show. 

We hope everyone who participated enjoyed the Show. We're hoping that next year's event can even bigger and better with more plot holders from more sites providing more entries.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

minutes of 08.08.16

Minutes of the Abas Meeting August 8th 2016
Astley Bridge Cricket Club – the meeting commenced at 8.00 p.m.
Attendance: 20 people from 12 sites
Minutes of the July Meeting
The minutes of the July meeting having been posted on the abas blog-site, the Committee’s proposal that the minutes be accepted was unanimously accepted.

Matters Arising
Following the July meeting the Committee emailed (12.07.2016) Mr Russell with the following points
·         Clarification of the rules about fires on allotments
·         Multiple Plots at the same address
·         Bullying and Aggression on sites
·         Mal-cultivation Notices

The Committee also requested that one of the periodic Progress Review Meetings be arranged between abas and Mr Russell
No reply had been received by abas to this email by the time of the meeting

Further on Fires
A comment was posted (14/07/2016) on the abas blog stating that abas did not need to seek clarification as the abas minutes of 12/05/2014 stated that fires are allowed on sites provided this is within accordance with the tenancy agreement.

The commentator does not seem to appreciate that abas is not a rule-making or a policy-making body. Abas minutes (unless otherwise stated) simply record the opinions / advice / conclusions of the Association / Committee / meeting based on the knowledge / information available at the time they are posted. They are not legally binding on member societies, tenants, the Council etc. Also circumstances may change with time. Thus seeking and publishing clarification of current Council policy is a sensible step and indeed is a prime function of abas.
As the Comment also contained a remark about Mr Russell that Comment was passed on to Mr Russell

Much of the Comment (and a subsequent further comment) related to matters that are not the concern of abas.
However Mr Russell subsequently (19/07/2016) emailed Harpers Lane Society about the fires issue

In that email Mr Russell stated that any local agreements about fires can only be purely advisory.
The only enforceable rules seem to be those spelled out in the Tenancy Agreement held by each individual plot-holder. There are however a number of different versions of the Tenancy Agreement in circulation. Mr Russell is obtaining a copy of the version held by the complainant. Mr Russell also wished to check on the wording of the clause relating to ‘causing a nuisance’ contained in that version.

Following a discussion in which a number of variants of the ‘fires’ clause in differing Tenancy Agreements were highlighted and in which the importance of the ‘nuisance’ clause and the role of Environmental Pollution staff at Bolton BMBC was referred to, the Chair requested that Society Secretaries send abas copies of any Rules on Fires that they have.
The meeting then approved a motion by a member society that:

The abas committee (having studied the rules in use throughout the Borough) approach Malcolm Russell with a proposal to form a steering group to draft a form of words about fires on allotments that is acceptable to the societies and Council Departments and which could then be enforceable under Council rules.
On-going Concerns

Moss Lea – There has been no progress on the decision on communal vs individual greenhouses, but the Society has been assured Mr Russell has this in hand. Other issues relating to Mal-cultivation Notices, inspections of buildings etc. seem to be progressing satisfactorily.
Harpers Lane –Neighbourhood Services called (03/08/2016) to say that Pest Control will be in touch about the rat problem shortly. Mr Russell has also promised that the Council will look at repairs to the Amenities Building door.

Florence Avenue – There has been no progress on the car park
Shepherd Cross St – No representative of SCS was present

General – The Council says it’s proceeding with mal-cultivation notices and evictions – the view of societies is mixed. Harpers Lane, Moss Lea and Smedley Avenue all report Breach of Tenancy notices being sent. Tonge Moor reported that some Re-entry notices have been (or are being) issued. However these notices were first asked for some 12 months ago. Tonge Fold reported delays to Re-entry Notices being issued.
A number of societies are concerned that the Council does not inform Secretaries when a notice (at whatever stage) has been sent. This was broadened into a general complaint that the Council does not always inform the Secretary when a tenant advises the Council directly that they are terminating the tenancy and so the plot remains unlet for a longer period than is needed.

Mal-cultivation and empty plots (and the apparent lack of action on these) are key sources of conflict between tenants and Site Committees (usually centring on ‘weedy’ plots affecting their neighbours).
Better Communication between the Allotments Section and Site Secretaries is needed.

At Dealey Rd. the surrounding fence has been breached and there were a number of shed break-ins. There have also been break-ins at Tonge Fold, Florence Avenue and Tonge Moor Rd. The meeting again stressed the need for every individual affected to report the incident to the police.

The Committee were requested to contact PCSO Sandra Furnival at Middlebrook to see if she is still trying to collate allotment crimes.
Any other issues?

There was a report from Moss Lea of two individuals in a van coming onto the site trying to sell ‘generators’. The Secretary had taken a note of the registration number of the vehicle. Other societies were asked to keep their eyes open.
Bolton Onion Leek and Vegetable Show

The Bolton Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show will take place on August 20th 2016 at Trinity Methodist Church, Tonge Fold. Bolton BL2 6BH

Entries may be brought to the event between 10.30 a.m. and 12.00 p.m.
The Show Hall will be closed for judging between 12.00 p.m. and 2.00 p.m.
The Show Hall will then open to the public from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m.
The Prize Giving will be at 4.00 p.m.

Schedules etc. are now available from The Show Secretary, Mrs Margaret Farrell, 13 Romer St., Bolton, BL2 6BG Tel: 0785 394 9570

The Schedule has also been displayed on the blog-site

Schedules may also be obtained by emailing

Terry is happy to provide advice on staging vegetables etc. 07863 933064

The Mini Farmers Market featuring Cheese, Honey, Local Veg and Ice Cream will be open from approx. 10.00 a.m. The Café (run by the Church) will also be available from 10.00 a.m.

Bolton Allotment Competitions
The results of the Bolton Allotment Competitions were now available. A full listing has been posted on the blog-site. It is important to remember that it is only the FINAL judging score that determines the position of the entrant.

1st David Urmston (Sapling Rd.)
2nd Jean Dyson (Sapling Rd.)
3rd Ann Amor (Tonge Moor rd.)

1st Carol Barlow (Sapling Rd.)
2nd Mike & Mary Marsh (Nasmyth St., Horwich)
3rd John & Carol Dainty (Nasmyth St., Horwich)

1st Clair & Kevin Beswick (Harpers Lane)
2nd Jo & Frank Mather (Tonge Moor Rd.)
3rd Emma Beasley (Harpers Lane)

1st Dealey Rd.

The Harrogate Trip
The Trip to the Harrogate Show will take place on Sunday 18th Sept.
This was the “Final Call” for names and monies. If numbers do not improve the trip may be cancelled.

The Allotted Exhibition
The Allotted Art Exhibition has now closed. The exhibition ran for 4 weeks rather than the expected 6 weeks as the management of the Market Place wanted the gallery space back for new paying tenants. In its 4 week run the exhibition attracted just over 800 visitors. The booklet of essays, stories and poems inspired by Allotments, “the back of the seed packet” will be on sale at the Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show.

What’s on?
Events Include:

13/08 – Craft & Produce Fair – Florence Avenue
14/08 – Open Day – Sapling Rd
27/08 – Allotment Society Show – Moss Lea
28/08 – Mini-Show & Barbecue – Shepherd’s Cross St
11/09 – Open Day, Show and Market, Harpers Lane

Contributing to the blog-site
As some of those present were aware a series of comments were placed on the blog-site after the July minutes had been posted. (These comments had since been deleted).
We did not feel it was appropriate to discuss the contents of these comments at this meeting, but we did want to establish some ground rules for contributing to the ‘blog’.
As a temporary measure the administrators have re-set the comments facility so that any comment is routed through a committee member for ‘moderation’ before it can appear on the blog.
Members agreed that this arrangement should be made permanent.

Any other contributions can be emailed to the Secretary who (given Committee approval) will then post them on the blog.
Requests for amendments to the minutes should be emailed to the Secretary and must cite a member who was present at the meeting to which the minutes relate. If members wish to question matters reported they should inform the Secretary who will schedule the issues either under ‘Matters Arising’ or as separate agenda items for the next meeting.

Requests for additional items on the agenda should be emailed to the Secretary at least 7 days before the meeting in question
Abas feel that any items on the blog should relate to matters within the remit of abas.

Abas is an association of Allotment Societies (a Federation in NAS terms)
Abas is concerned only with allotment matters

Abas’ prime concern is with issues relating to the collective interests of societies and plot-holders (primarily in negotiation with third parties, primarily the Council)
Abas may take a role in issues between individual societies and third parties (e.g. the Council) if invited to do so by the society in question and where the third party agrees to abas’ involvement.

Abas may take a role in issues between individuals and third parties (e.g. the Council) if invited to do so by that individual’s society and where the third party agrees to abas’ involvement.
Abas does not seek any role in issues between individuals and their site societies (nor between individual plot-holders)

In some cases above it may be appropriate to involve the NWCAA and NAS

The meeting agreed that this defined abas’ remit.

Any Other Business / Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting is on 12th September at Astley Bridge Cricket Club
Start Time 8.00 p.m.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Bolton Allotments Competitions - The Results

plot no

1st round



Alan Saunders
David Urmston
Jean Dyson


Eileen Hartigan / Roy Bottomley
Ann Amor


Bernard Fallon
Alun Morris
Phillip Warren


David Hargraves



Carol Barlow


John & Carol Dainty
Mike & Mary Marsh



Jo & Frank Mather
Julie Lewis


Keith Wood


Clair & Kevin Beswick
Paul Williamson
Emma Beasley










Note that it is the FINAL ROUND score that determines the entrant's position, the first round is merely an interim score.