Thursday, 17 August 2017

AUGUST MINUTES


Minutes of the meeting of 14/08/2017 at Astley Bridge Cricket Club

Present: 15 members representing 9 sites

Minutes of the July Meeting

The July Minutes having been posted on the Association Blog-site and there being no corrections anyone wished to make or additional points anyone wished to raise, the Committee moved that the minutes be adopted as correct. This motion was passed unanimously.

Outstanding Matters – it was reported that having corresponded with Malcolm Russell our response is- (our views in italics MR’s views in red)

•A society had raised the issue of contacting plot-holders.

Where plot-holders are members of the society the society should have contact details as part of its membership records. Where plot-holders are not members of the society it may not.

Agree. Whilst the potential benefits of having that information are understood Data Protection does not permit it without the individual’s consent.

 •When a society cannot contact a tenant by any other means may they go onto his / her plot in order to post a notice or leave a note?
 Abas advice would be that it depends on why the Committee wanted to contact this person.

•If it was a BoT1 situation then if the Committee has no contact details for the plot-holder then they should proceed directly to a BoT2 request to the Council. (Beyond BoT1 all communication is through the Council).

•For any other reasons we would argue that the Committee should avoid physically going on a plot unless they have express permission from the plot-holder or unless there is an urgent issue of site health and safety affecting other plot-holders (in which case the Council should also be informed without delay).

•(It might be worthwhile getting members to agree that notices etc. can be delivered to their sheds / greenhouses as part of renewing their membership each year).

Agree

 There was further discussion of this matter – it was argued that in some cases in order to carry out their responsibilities under the OMA, a society needs to be able to inspect the condition of plots. In a certain number of cases this may be impossible from the site roads and paths. It was argued that there should be some system of implied permission to cover this. The Committee will discuss this with the Council.

It was also stated that under allotment regulations anyone wishing to go on a plot must give 24 hours’ notice to the tenant of their intention to do so. This apparently also covers Council officials. 

 •We were asked what procedure should be followed if a complaint is received about the welfare of poultry being kept on plots – a plot-holder had approached his society saying he has concerns about the health of poultry being kept by a neighbour. He wished his Society to take this matter up with the Council.

Abas advice (based on past conversations with Allotments) is that any plot-holder with concerns about the well-being of livestock should in the first place contact the RSPCA who are the appropriate organisation to make an assessment and if necessary take action. The only exception would be where there is an urgent issue of site health and safety affecting other plot-holders e.g. dead birds lying around (in which case the Council should also be informed without delay).

Agree.

•A Society has been approached by a non-member on their site who states that even though he is a non-member (and has refused repeatedly to join his site society) he has been told by “a Council representative” (no statement as to who this was) that as a tenant on that site the Society is obligated to represent him on any matter of concern he may have.

Abas’ view (based on conversations at past Progress Meetings) is as follows: Issues arising between an individual plot-holder and the Council are matters between tenant and landlord. A Society only becomes involved if and when the plot-holder asks for support / advice in which case the Society takes the role of an interested friend / advisor. The Society may also in these circumstances ask for help / advice / information and / or support from both ABAS and the National Allotment Society (if appropriate).

•Societies are NOT obliged to assist non-members and we would argue should not do so since any action they might take could be considered as not a legitimate part of the activities of either the Society or the NAS and thus they may not (under the insurance and related protections available e.g. through affiliation to the National) be protected against the consequences of any action they may advise.

•Matters affecting ALL or a number of plot-holders on a site are a valid matter for the Society to take up with the Council. The Society may also in these circumstances ask for help / advice / information and / or support from both ABAS and the National Allotment Society (if appropriate).

•Matters affecting ALL or a number of Sites are valid matters for ABAS to take up with the Council. ABAS may also in these circumstances ask for help / advice / information and / or support from the National Allotment Society (if appropriate).

Agree.

Abas would also argue that Societies should make it clear to plot-holders that the Society will only act for paid-up members in any matter related to any Public Liability scheme operated by the Society.

In further discussion it was argued that where a Society’s constitution expressly allows it, membership of a society may be withheld from any individual tenant on that site (e.g. for abusive behaviour towards other plot-holders or Society officers).

Previous Backlog

•We have been informed by e-mail that a concerted effort has been made within the Allotments Section and that the backlog of administrative matters (BoTs, Replies to Monthly Reports, and Tenancy Agreements) as it stood on 28/07/2017 has now been processed.

A number of site representatives stated that to their knowledge some matters remained outstanding.

Abas future strategy

•27 questionnaires have been distributed (we have multiple contact points for some sites and none for others) and as of 14/08/2017 we had received 11 replies.

•Reminders were sent on 07/08/2017

•We are at present analysing the replies we have but need more ……

The Secretary will send out further reminders asap

•Once we have a clearer picture we can start to think ahead

 Freedom of Information Request

•Following the July meeting we submitted a second FoI request to the Council.

•In that request we asked for more site specific information and also for clearer definitions as to what the various headings in the previous information actually cover.

•We received a reply on 11th August 2017 –as yet we have not had sufficient time to analyse that reply.

 GM Spatial Plan

During a discussion it was pointed out that the new Mayor of Greater Manchester had indicated he wished to reduce the effect that new housing development would have on “the greenbelt”. This might lead to the re-designation of zones for new housing etc. There was a concern that under pressure to meet Government housebuilding targets, there might be a greater threat of infill development on ‘greenfield’ sites within existing urban areas. This might include e.g. green spaces, community gardens, allotments etc.

Abas is part of a collective of the Federations within Greater Manchester which (lead by the Salford Federation) is seeking to ensure the revised Spatial Plan makes explicit provision for the setting aside of allotment land within developments. The target provision (as suggested by the NAS) is 5000 square metres of allotment space per 1000 new dwellings.

We believe that new allotment sites should be sited wherever possible close to the areas where potential plot-holders live with due attention to accessibility on foot and by public transport. There are already difficulties about the distribution of allotment sites within Bolton.

The Committee was asked whether they had statistics showing how Bolton’s figures for plots provided per 1000 inhabitants / 1000 dwellings compared to those of the other Councils of Greater Manchester. The Committee do not but will look into this matter.

Since the meeting, the Bolton News has reported (BN Thursday August 17th page 2) that “a new version of the controversial housing blueprint …. will be published next June.”

Following the publication of this second draft (in June 2018) there will be another 12 week public consultation. Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford, is leading the rewrite.

NB In 2015 the population of Bolton was estimated at 280,400 and there were 959 plots. This gives a ratio of 3.4 plots per 1000 population (or about 800-850 square metres per 1000 population). If we use 2.4 persons per dwelling this gives 1900 to 2000 square metres per dwelling, about 40% of the NAS’s suggested provision for new developments.

Abas Allotments Competitions

•Some 30 entries were received from 7 sites, the results are:

FairhurstTrophy

•First, Dave and Debbie Urmston of Sapling Road Allotments

•Second, Jean and Roy Dyson of Sapling Road Allotments

•Third Alan Kay, of Smedley Av. Allotments


Fred GreenhalghTrophy

•First Mike and Mary Marsh, of NasmythStreet Allotments, Horwich

•Second Phil Woods of Sapling Road Allotments

•Third Mrs Patricia Keenan of Moss Lea Allotments


Best New Tenants Trophy

•First Heidi Kelly of Smedley Av. Allotments

•Second Sandra Hill of Settle Street Allotments.

•Third David Day of Tonge Moor Road Allotments .


Rose Bowl Competition 2017

•First, Tonge Fold Allotments

•Second, Dealey Road Allotments

•Third Moss Lea Allotments

•Fourth Tonge Moor Allotments

•Congratulations to all prize winners and our thanks to J Maher Limited for providing the prizes. Our thanks also to Jeff Gibson, Terry Farrell, George Wilde and Richard Hayes for judging the competitions.



Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show.

Bolton's Onion Leek and Vegetable Show organised by the Association of Bolton Allotment Societies [Abas] took place at the Trinity Methodist Church in Tonge Fold on Saturday the 12th August.

The Show with its 25 classes of varied Vegetables attracted over 112 entries on the day and was a resounding success. The entries were judged by Mr Kevin Knowles FNVS of the National Vegetable Society who said that the quality of the Vegetables was of an extremely high standard.

The Prizes for the Vegetable Show were sponsored by the University of Bolton and a number of individual Allotment Societies. On the day Dr Zubair Hanslot, Provost of the University of Bolton, presented the awards.

The Secretaries’ Shield was awarded to Jeff Gibson of Little Lever for the Most Points awarded in Show and the Bolton Allotment Council Challenge Trophy was awarded to Dorothy Kay of Tonge Fold Allotments.  .

As part of the day’s proceedings the awards for the Bolton Allotment Competitions for the Best Allotment in various classes were presented.

A special thanks to Vegetable Show Manager Terry Farrell, Show Secretary Margaret Farrell and the show committee who put on a first class show.

What’s On –on Allotment Sites

•AUGUST 26TH –MOSS LEA ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

•SEPTEMBER 3RD –HARPERS LANE ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

•SEPTEMBER 9TH –FLORENCE AVENUE ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

•SEPTEMBER 9TH –SETTLE STREET ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

•Details of all these events are being circulated through the NWCAA .

THERE IS ALSO A TALK BY ROY LANCASTER AT BOLTON CENTRAL LIBRARY ON 30TH SEPTEMBER (11.00 A.M. TO 3.00 P.M.) – ENTRY IS FREE, BUT TICKETS MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE – 01204 332853 Secretaries may block-book small parties.

NWCAA

•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

 Grants and Funding Opportunities

•We have identified no new opportunities since the July meeting, we would however continue to urge Societies to use Bolton CVS and GMCVO portals to look for opportunities.

•The National Allotment Gardens Trust is also a possibility

•The CVS have re-opened the ‘Big Bolton Fund’ for applications –see CVS website

 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 due at the October Meeting and ideally should be paid by the AGM in November.

Meeting Dates

Our next Meeting is on Monday Sept 11 followed by Monday October 9and Monday November 13th which is our AGM

All meetings start at 8pm at the Astley Bridge Cricket Club

HORWICH FRUIT, FLOWER AND VEGETABLE SHOW

Members are advised that the Horwich Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Show will take place on Saturday September 16th.

The venue is the town's community centre in Beaumont Rd.

Classes cover fruit, vegetables, flowers, potted plants and home produce (e.g. Victoria sponge, fruit scones, chocolate cake and preserves)

Entry forms are available at the centre or may be downloaded at horwich.gov.uk

For more information call 01204 691090 or email townclerk@horwich.gov.uk



Tuesday, 15 August 2017

CVS Grants Programme


From the CVS website

Bolton CVS Small Grants Programme and Workshop

If your community group has an income of under £40,000 per year it may be eligible to apply for a Bolton CVS Small Grant of up to £1500.

Come along to a short workshop on Thursday 31st August 2017 which will enable you to go through the full online application form with our Funding and Grants Officer, Mark Grundy ahead of our next grant deadline on Monday 11th September 2017.  

Mark will explain how to give full answers to each of the questions and give tips on making the online process even easier. The session will be interactive and you will be able to ask questions relating to your own application.  Please bring your own laptop if you can, but some will be available to use at the session.

Date:   Thursday 31st August 2017
Time:   10.00am - 11.30am
Venue: The Bolton Hub

For full information 
please email mark@boltoncvs.org.uk.


Monday, 7 August 2017

ROY LANCASTER

           Bolton-born Roy began his career in horticulture in Bolton parks department.

He is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and has taken part in a number of TV programmes including Gardeners’ World.
            Roy will be giving an insight into his new book at the talk in September, and there will be an             opportunity to buy copies of his book and get it signed.

Free fun garden and animal themed activities for the whole family will also be on offer from 11am to 3pm.
           Admission is free but booking a ticket on Eventbrite is required as light refreshments will be            served. PLEASE SEE ADDRESS ON POSTER ABOVE




Friday, 14 July 2017

MINUTES OF THE JULY MEETING OF ABAS


Held at Astley Bridge Cricket Club, 10th July 2017 starting 8.00 p.m.

Present: 19 people representing 10 sites

Minutes of June meeting

The minutes having been posted on the Association’s blog site and members invited to submit corrections etc. The Committee asked whether there were any points anyone wished to raise. There being no such matters it was moved that the minutes be accepted.

Outstanding Matters

Specific issues from the June meeting had been submitted to the Council on 12/06/2017
The replies are as follows:

·         Plot Splitting at Smedley Avenue – due to the size of plots at SA any division would result in at least one plot being less than 125 sq metres – this is against policy. The Committee discussed situations where an existing plot that is less than 125 sq metres becomes vacant – our advice is that if such a plot cannot be amalgamated with another, then it should simply be re-let.

·         Voluntary Terminations of Tenancy – the Council regard the effective date of termination and the date by which the tenant must remove his / her property from the plot as being either the date the tenant communicates with the Council or such later date as he / she may stipulate in their termination letter or email. MR is looking the need to reinstate confirmation letters.

·         Poultry on Plots – Societies cannot refuse permission for tenants to keep poultry only the Council can do this.

Previous backlog

·         Pigeons on Plots – no further response – abas advice would be that if such a request is presented to a Society then the application should be refused with the tenant being advised of their rights of appeal to the Council. Such appeals should help establish an effective policy.

·         Probationers – the May meeting made a number of suggestions to the Council – no response to date

·         Revolving applications – The Council has found Rawlyn Rd’s suggested way of dealing with these acceptable

·         Assistance with Security – there has been no response to the points made about site security

·         Fundraising – the Council has stated that any events must be clearly linked to promoting allotment gardening and local food growing – simply raising funds for the society is not acceptable. Abas are concerned at this restriction on societies’ ability to raise much needed funds and wishes to discuss this with the Council.

·         Waiting Lists – waiting list supplied to secretaries will in future always have phone numbers   

Abas – future strategy
Abas remains concerned that there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction amongst our members, both with communications with the Allotments section and with responses from that section.

Abas is concerned that our email to the Council warning of dangers to the continuation of the OMA project has not received a reply.

The Committee has therefore decided to circulate all Society Secretaries with a questionnaire asking them to tell us – what has worked well, what isn’t working well (with detailed examples). These questionnaires should be returned to abas after which we shall collate the replies and use them to form the basis of a Progress Meeting with the Head of Neighbourhood Services.

Freedom of Information requests
Florence Avenue have received a reply to their FoI

Abas received a reply to its FoI on Weds 5th July. The replies were discussed at a Committee Meeting on Thursday 6th July. Initial feelings are that further detail is needed, and that the Secretary should seek that information from the Council.
 The following summary sheet was provided by the Council.



Allotments



2015/16  Actuals
2016/17  Actuals
2017/18 Budget





20100
Day To Day Maintenance
18,117
9,114
7,151
20504
Signage
200


21100
Electricity - General
1,401
(542)
1,515
22003
Ground Rent
25

51
22200
Water Charges - Metered
9,789
7,921
10,100
22201
Water Charges - Unmetered
493
518
2,020
25103
Purchases - Keys Etc.
1,406


26106
Refuse Collection
320


29100
R&M Property Services Dso
71
530





Total Premises
31,822
17,540
20,837




40601
General Materials
20

1,010




Total Supplies & Services
20
0
1,010




52200
Contracted Services
10,827
9,551
9,090




Total Agency
10,827
9,551
9,090




77215
Legal Services Devolved Charge
780

1,515




Total Support Costs
780
0
1,515








Gross Expenditure
43,448
27,091
32,452




92612
Donations
(1,500)


93308
Agricultural Rent
(30,265)
(30,001)
(32,452)




Total Income
(31,765)
(30,001)
(32,452)









Net Expenditure
11,683
(2,910)
0

Site specific figures were supplied by the Council for water charges.


Site
metered water
unmetered water


15/16
16/17
15/16
16/17












1
Ainsdale Road
£497.75
£315.80


2
Avondale Rd




3
Back Plodder Lane




4
Cemetery Rd
£361.83
£450.17


5
Chequerbent




6
Clammerclough




7
Cross St




8
Crown Lane
£98.13
£365.17


9
Dealey Rd




10
Firwood Lane
£29.83
£117.69
£123.34
£129.48
11
Florence Avenue
£347.61
£440.56


12
Garstang Avenue




13
Glebe Street




14
Green Lane




15
Hall Lea Bank




16
Harpers Lane
£155.81
£376.12


17
Hatfield Rd




18
Lever Park Avenue
£48.31
£238.37


19
Longworth Rd, Egerton
£203.92
£887.42


20
Longworth Rd, Horwich




21
Lowndes St
£37.40
£153.09


22
Manningham Rd/ Haslam Park
£127.37
£272.57


23
Moss Lea
£121.50
£332.80


24
Nasmyth Street
£66.03
£89.95
£123.34
£129.48
25
New Street




26
Rawlyn Road
£365.60
£240.48


27
Sapling Rd
£160.50
-£56.36


28
Settle Street
-£257.85
£1,016.41
£123.34
£129.48
29
Seymour Road




30
Shepherd Cross Street
£7,254.82
£971.08
£123.34
£129.48
31
Smedley Avenue
£114.45
£171.96


32
Thicketford Road
£59.57
£60.63


33
Tippings Rd
£61.92
-£73.84


34
Tonge Fold




35
Tonge Moor Rd
-£232.79
£1,322.36


36
Westhoughton Central




37
Willows Mercadale
£78.99
£37.95


38
























Dene Bank Allotments, Turton
£87.69
£190.28





















TOTAL PLOTS
£9,788.39
£7,920.66
£493.36
£517.92







On Summary Sheet
£9,789.00
£7,921.00
£493.00
£518.00







The Budget for 17/18 is





Metered
£10,100.00




Unmetered
£2,020.00




The meeting requested that the Secretary ask for similar site specific data on the other headings within the summary.

GM Spatial Plan
Don Booth (Salford Federation) is convening a meeting of the Federations in the GM area to discuss the current status of the Plan.
Abas (Terry and Jeff) will attend

Abas Allotments Competitions

Some 29 entries have been received from 6 Allotment sites.
Second Judging is week commencing July 10th

Abas Onion, Leek and Vegetable Show
The Show will be held at Trinity Church, Tonge Fold
The date is Saturday 12th August
The list of classes is given on the blog-site

Terry has copies of the Show Schedules – some were distributed at the meeting. Terry can be contacted at 0786 393 3064. Terry has offered to assist societies in explaining to potential exhibitors exactly what is needed.
We are hoping that there will be a large number of entries and from a wider spread of sites.

Stalls - There is space available for any society wishing to have a “stall” in the front hall at the show e.g. to sell honey, produce etc. Contact Terry if you are interested.

What’s on?
JULY 29TH – TONGE FOLD ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

AUGUST 5TH – SAPLING ROAD ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

AUGUST 26TH – MOSS LEA ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

SEPTEMBER 3RD – HARPERS LANE ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

SEPTEMBER 9TH – FLORENCE AVENUE ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

SEPTEMBER 9TH – SETTLE STREET ALLOTMENTS OPEN DAY

Details of all these events are being circulated through the NWCAA

NWCAA
Jeff and Terry gave an account of the Regional Meeting on 25/06/2017. Minutes will be published by the Regional Secretary on the NWCAA web-site.

Key points were:-
·                  Small Grants Scheme

·         Insurance – Shield may no longer offer the most competitive rates and societies should look at the market, but be careful to ensure quotes are Like for Like

·         Anti-Bullying Policy on Allotments – NWCAA has asked the NAS to provide more information on anti-bullying policies

Grants and Funding Opportunities There are details of potential funding from TESCO for projects such as meeting rooms, chemical toilets, site and land improvements on the NWCAA web-site (Blackpool Federation has secured £13k so far with a possible £5k to follow)

Societies (and abas) need to look seriously into future fund-raising since support from the ‘Big Bolton Fund’ / CVS has diminished and is likely to be further cut in future. In addition many funders are refusing repeat applications within a set period.

CVS grant advisors are advising even medium size groups to look at designating a fundraising officer or committee and to make maximum use of e.g. the Fundraising portals that Bolton CVS and GMCVO operate

Any other business
Members discussed what the advantages are of continuing paying subscriptions to the NAS if they are no longer a way of obtaining cheaper insurance.

The Chair informed the meeting that Dave Morris (NAS Treasurer) is actively seeking a new mechanism for obtaining insurance for NAS members, but this has not yet come to fruition. A number of members referred to access to excellent legal advice. The Secretary and Treasurer stressed the importance of being part of a wider movement when things ‘get rough’.  The Secretary argued that the NAS is a kind of insurance policy, we may not use them much in good times, but we can call on them if matters get difficult.

Dates
Our next meeting is on Monday August 14th and will be followed by:-
Monday Sept 11th
Monday October 9th

And the AGM on Monday November 13th

All meetings start at 8.00 p.m. at Astley Bridge Cricket Club