MINUTES OF THE OCTOBER MEETING OF ABAS
9th October 2017
Present: 27 members from 12 societies
The Minutes of the September Meeting having been posted on the Association Blog-site and there being no corrections etc. raised, the minutes were approved by the meeting.
Abas future strategy
27 questionnaires had been distributed and as of 08/10/2017 we had received 13 replies, all from member OMA sites
A preliminary analysis has been done
The questionnaire results indicate that members are (to varying degrees):
(Actual %s have been withheld until conversations (see below) with the Council are completed)
· dissatisfied with the Council’s response to the Monthly Reports which are submitted by Site Societies under the terms of the OMAs
· dissatisfied with the Council’s performance in notifying Site Secretaries when plots fall vacant and may be re-let
· dissatisfied with the Council’s performance in regularly supplying Site Secretaries with updated Waiting Lists (under OMAs it is the Site Secretary’s responsibility to contact the next person on the waiting list when a plot becomes vacant)
· dissatisfied with the Council’s performance in processing Breaches of Tenancy (particularly persistent mal-cultivation) reported by Site Secretaries
· dissatisfied with the Council’s performance in respect of repairs and maintenance (including Health and Safety concerns) on sites
Action So Far
An Email giving a summary of the questionnaire results was sent to Cllrs Peel, Burrows and Watters on 21/09/2017 – a copy was also presented to Malcolm Russell (Head of Neighbourhood Services)
A Follow-up email was sent to ALL Councillors sent 28/09/2017
A reply Email was received from Cllr Nick Peel on 28/09/2017. He was “awaiting officer availability” and hoped to get back to us soon
Replies have been received from 9 of the 60 Councillors contacted. 5 of those 9 stated that they had contacted Cllr Peel. We are grateful for their interest, time and support.
A meeting has been arranged for 12.00 p.m. Tuesday 10th October with Cllr Peel, Kellie Hopkins (Asst. Director Environmental Services) and Malcolm Russell at the Town Hall.
(A separate note on that meeting will be released following our Committee meeting on Monday October 16th.)
There then followed a discussion as to what members hoped for / expected from the above meeting.
· Members discussed what line the Executive should take.
· Members discussed what might constitute a satisfactory outcome?
· Members discussed what further actions they might wish us to take, dependent on the results of the meeting.
The Committee will continue to try to find out more about what is happening on non-OMA sites.
The Secretary repeated that abas is ready to help any site form a society and if it desires move towards an OMA. (Model Constitutions etc. are available and NWCAA has announced some possible grants to help in Society formation (see below))
Jeff and Terry continue to be our liaison with the NWCAA
Minutes of NWCAA meetings are available on the NWCAA website
The NWCAA also issue a monthly news-letter
The next NWCAA Forum is on 29/10/2017
Freedom of Information Request
This issue is still under consideration
Andy Burnham’s office continue to issue interpretations of the last consultancy exercise.
These are regularly covered in the Bolton News and on the GM Mayor’s web-site
Grants and Funding Opportunities
NWCAA have small grants available to assist sites wishing to form new societies and / or organise events which promote NWCAA and /or the NAS
AVIVA have community grants available http://community.fund.aviva.co.uk
Abas Membership 2017 18
If we are to continue to be regarded by the Council as the primary spokes-body for allotment plot-holders in Bolton we need to maintain (and hopefully increase) our membership numbers – both in terms of sites and plot-holders.
Abas subs (£1 per Society member) are now due and ideally should be paid by the AGM in November.
Any Other Business
The Council has now introduced a new system EGRESS which they intend to use to distribute sensitive information such as names and addresses on waiting lists. Some secretaries have found this easy to access, others are having problems. Abas has not been given access to the system.
ABAS remains concerned about non-OMA sites. About 1/3rd of the plots in Bolton are on non-OMA sites. The overwhelming majority of such sites have no site Society and no affiliation either to ABAS or to the NAS.
Given current Council resources such sites may only receive a Council visit once every four years or so. Identifying uncultivated and abandoned plots is ‘ad hoc’ to say the least. Re-letting vacant plots is not systematic.
ABAS has identified this as a priority issue once the current “communications” issues between Site Secretaries and the Council have been addressed.
Our next Meeting is our AGM on Monday November 13th starting at 8pm at the Astley Bridge Cricket Club