Monday, 24 October 2016



Present: Malcolm Russell (Bolton BMBC)
                Jeff Gibson (Chair, abas), Dave Jackson (secretary, abas), Terry Farrell (treasurer, abas)

General Update on tenancies, vacancies and waiting lists
MR presented the meeting with a matrix detailing for each site in Bolton (amongst other data)
  • Whether an OMA is in place
  • Current number of Plots
  • Current waiting list
  • Current number of useable vacant plots
The number of applicants on waiting lists is 440. However this includes persons who are ‘on probation’ as they are not removed from the waiting list until they have been offered and returned a Tenancy Agreement. It does not include those ‘buddies’ who have signified that they are only interested in taking over the plot on which they are currently helping.

MR expected an increase in vacant plots as 7 plots have been repossessed in the last 10 days under Breach of Tenancy stage 3 notices.
Issues surrounding the submission of signed tenancy registration forms (following successful completion of a probationary period) and the return of Tenancy Agreement Forms (once sent by the Council) remain a concern of both Council and abas secretaries. MR is reluctant to add to secretaries’ workloads under OMAs but as a meeting we felt that the situation would be improved IF tenancy registration forms were returned in the first place to Society Secretaries who could make a copy before submitting them to the authority. Such a practice would ensure that Society Secretaries would have a point of contact for all new tenants.

It is felt that the introduction of ‘probationary’ periods has reduced considerably the number of tenants who give up in the first year which leads to the mal-cultivation process being invoked so the plot may be re-let. Most OMA sites have adopted this practice and of those which didn’t most have now indicated that they will now do so.
MR stated that the numbers of new tenancies let in 2013-2014 was 86, in 2014-2015 79 and in 2015-2016 72.

Tenancy Terminations
There have been issues relating to tenants advising either the Council or the Site Secretary that they wished to terminate their tenancy. This has applied in both directions, secretaries report tenants leaving and the Council not telling them the plot was vacant and secretaries failing to tell the Council (on the monthly report) that a tenant had indicated that they wished to relinquish their tenancy. There has also been a case where a tenant had verbally indicated that s/he wished to leave but then withdrew that resignation after the secretary had advised the Council.

Therefore advice is that whenever possible Secretaries should obtain some document preferably a signed Tenancy Amendment form or perhaps a letter or email from the outgoing tenant stating that the tenant is relinquishing their plot. Failing that they should advise the outgoing tenant that it is the tenant’s responsibility to inform the council. Until such time as the secretary has a document (either as above or notification from the Council that the plot is available for re-letting) the secretary should not take steps to re-let the plot.
Transfer of sheds / greenhouses etc. to new tenants on termination.

The Notice of Re-possession (which replaces the old term Notice to Quit) gives a date by which the outgoing tenant must remove from the plot anything which he / she wishes to retain ownership of.
Any agreements between an outgoing tenant and an incoming tenant as to financial compensation for structures left on the plot are between the incoming and outgoing tenants alone.

Societies are not allowed to act as brokers or to take possession of any items on a vacated plot (unless the outgoing tenant specifically donates these to the society and they are removed prior to the termination date of the tenancy.) Similarly societies may not demolish any structures on a vacated plot unless the outgoing tenant specifically requests this and they are demolished prior to the termination date of the tenancy.
On the date the outgoing tenancy ends all items on the plot become the property of the Council for the use of the next tenant.

Prioritising Plot Transfers over new tenants
Where a society is aware that a plot is becoming vacant, and where the society believes that that plot would be a suitable one to which an existing tenant may be transferred (either because they want a larger / smaller plot, or a greenhouse etc.) then the Society should inform the Council (via the monthly report) that they will be advertising the plot for transfer internally on the site. It is for the Committee to determine whether or not applicants are suitable for transfer. Suitable applicants should be ranked in order of their length of stay on their current plot. (An alternative proposal is to ask those tenants who are looking to transfer to a larger plot to re-register on the Waiting List (without surrendering their current plot) and to deal with transfer requests in waiting list order. This is similar to the procedures set out for inter-site transfers in earlier abas minutes – see abas minutes 08/06/2015 Item 1.2 on

A guiding factor is that the end of a transfer chain must still result in a vacant plot becoming available to a person at the head of the site waiting list.
The Mal-cultivation Procedure

There are three stages to the Procedure carried out by the Council and OMA societies.
Stage One
This is an informal stage –
A plot that is not being adequately cultivated, or has some other breach of tenancy, is identified.
  1. The Site Committee take (dated) photographs of the plot.
  2. The Site Secretary then contacts the plot-holder and determines whether (in the Society’s opinion) there are extenuating circumstances.
  3. If there are the Society may opt to take no further action
  4. Otherwise the Site Secretary discusses with the plot-holder how the plot may be brought up to standard, and sets a date (at least 21 days ahead) at which the plot will be re-inspected. This period for improvement may be as long as the Society deems fit, and may (at the discretion of the Society) be extended.
  5. The Site Secretary then flags the plot on the monthly report as being at Stage One (retaining the photograph, and making a record of the date the plot-holder was contacted and what has been agreed.)
  6. If the site secretary cannot contact the plot-holder (despite reasonable efforts) then the matter goes straight to Stage Two
  7. Once any agreed period for plot improvement has elapsed the plot is re-inspected.
  8. If the plot is still (in the opinion of the Committee) unsatisfactory, than stage 2 may begin.

Stage Two – stage two is the start of the formal procedure at which the Council becomes involved

  1. Following the re-inspection of the plot, a (dated) photograph is taken.
  2. The plot is then flagged as being at Stage 2 on the monthly report (to which the photograph is appended) and the Council is requested to send a BoT2 letter to the plot-holder.
  3. If, based on the evidence provided, the Council find the condition of the plot unsatisfactory then they will issue a BoT2 letter to the plot-holder. This letter defines a period (14 days) in which the plot-holder must demonstrate improvements. (Under new arrangements the officer responsible will e-mail the site secretary to confirm the BoT2 has been sent.)
  4. The Site Secretary then schedules a further re-inspection for a few days after the lapse of the ‘improvement’ period.
  5. If the plot is now (in the opinion of the Committee) satisfactory the matter is closed. Any further lapses would require the re-start of the process at the beginning of Stage 2.
  6. If the plot remains unsatisfactory then Stage 3 may begin.

Stage 3

  1. A (dated) photograph is taken.
  2. The plot is flagged as Stage 3 on the monthly report (to which the stage 2 and stage 3 photos are attached), and the Council is requested to issue a BoT3 notice – a Notice of Re- Entry (what used to be called a Notice to Quit).
  3. If based on the evidence provided, the Council agree that the condition of the plot remains unsatisfactory then they will issue a BoT3 letter to the plot-holder. This gives the plot-holder one month to remove any items he / she wishes to retain from the plot and then vacate it. (Under new arrangements the officer responsible will e-mail the site secretary to confirm the BoT3 has been sent.)
  4. Once the required period has elapsed, the Council will take possession of the plot and will inform the Site Secretary that it may be re-let.

NB – the Council will not action any new requests for BoT letters after the submission of the September monthly report until April 2017. Any cases already at Stage 2 will continue.

In abas’ opinion secretaries would be advised (in say Feb/March 2017) to:
·         Tell all plot-holders on their site that there will be a site inspection on xx/April/ 2017 (this might be amended dependent on weather etc.)
·         Inform all plot-holders that if they are experiencing problems in bringing their plot up to an acceptable level of cultivation for that date they should contact the Committee to discuss the matter
·         If, at the stated inspection date, a plot is not at a suitable level of cultivation (particularly if the tenant has not been seen to be actively engaged with their plot by that date) then the Committee should list that plot at stage 2 and invoke the Mal-cultivation procedure.
·         From April to end September the normal mal-cultivation process should be followed.

 Abas’ Report to Members on Fires on Plots

It was agreed that there are essentially three ‘documents’ which define the regulations about fires on plots.

Para 13 of the current Tenancy Agreement states that a tenant may have a fire but that he / she must not ‘cause a nuisance’. Therefore it would seem logical that if a tenant has (or repeatedly has) a fire which causes a nuisance then this is a breach of tenancy and that tenant could be issued with a BOT2 or potentially Notice of Re-entry. The decision whether to apply this will lie with the Council
However it has been asserted that whether a Statutory nuisance is being caused or not can only be determined by a court under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This requires action from the Environmental Pollution Unit at Bolton MBC.

A letter issued on 19 March 2014 by Neighbourhood Services which states that the Environmental Protection Act 1990 applies to fires on allotment sites.

An advisory note issued by Environmental Services in March 2014 stating that section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act applies and setting out the potential penalties to individuals of causing a nuisance.

These documents are appended to this post

It was also reported that following complaints about fires at one particular allotment site, the Council is giving consideration to introducing a blanket ban on fires on allotment sites. (This would undoubtedly require an amendment to existing Tenancy Agreements, this could be done in conjunction with sending out the annual ‘bills’).  Abas would urge all members to follow local guidelines about avoiding causing nuisance so that such a draconian step will not be taken.

Multiple-Plots at the same address

The question had been raised about a situation where unrelated people shared an address (essentially about ‘houses in multiple occupation’). There has never been a case where applications from such persons has caused a problem. Provided they are genuinely separate households then each may apply for and be granted a plot.

Keeping Bees on Site

There had been a report that the Council was reviewing its policy about the keeping of bees on allotment sites. The Council is not currently reviewing arrangements and there is no ‘policy’ as such. The Council’s ruling is that anyone wishing to keep bees must have attended a recognised bee-keeping course and be able to produce the required insurance documents BEFORE placing a hive on site. On the positioning of hives the Council would recommend that the guidelines set out in the relevant NSALG leaflet be followed, but each individual application would be examined on its merits.

Issues with Japanese Knotweed

A programme to control JKW has begun at Settle Street.
At Dealey Rd. (and at Settle Street) the Council is contacting the adjoining landowners to advise them of their responsibilities in the eradication of JKW.

On other sites it is recommended that Societies conduct a twice yearly programme of cutting and burning and the application of a glyphosate  weedkiller for a period of two years. This should make a major impact.

Society Bonfires

There are issues about the definition of a bonfire – this covers a range of events from simple burning of scrap wood, dried weeds etc. by one or two plot-holders acting together to an event to which the public are invited (and possibly charged) and at which fireworks are set off.

Council opinion is that there should be NO public events on allotment sites after dark. It is felt that sites are unsafe places.

Therefore any (Nov 5th-style) bonfires must be restricted to plot-holders and their guests, and plot-holders must be made aware that they are personally responsible for the behaviour and safety of their guests.

In order to have a bonfire a society should

·         Inform the Council as to date and time

·         Provide either a risk assessment or an event management plan

·         Provide evidence of adequate and specific insurance.

·         (On this point one local site consulted its insurers (Bluefin) to find that a clause had been inserted in their public liability insurance policy namely that they must inform both police and fire brigade at least 14 days before the event and follow any recommendations that they made – there were also specifics about a safe space around the fire and an absolute ban on fireworks. We would therefore advise all societies to check with their insurers.)

The Council has also stipulated that NO additional material may be brought onto the site for the purposes of the bonfire.

A number of individual society matters were discussed and these will be fed back to the relevant secretaries asap.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

NVS Events

Abas is a member of the National Vegetable Society (NVS)

The NVS runs a number of events in Lancashire.

If you need abas' membership number please email the Secreatry at

Minutes of October 10th 2016

Present 17 members representing 10 sites

Minutes of the September Meeting

The minutes of the September meeting having been posted on the abas blog-site, the Committee moved that the minutes be accepted.

Matters Arising

Following the September meeting the Committee emailed Mr Russell with Regard to a Meeting between Abas members and Mr Russell and the relevant elected member at Bolton MBC.

  • A meeting between the Abas executive and MR has been arranged for 14/01/2016
  • Mr Russell has expressed a willingness to attend our AGM
  • Mr Russell will pass on our request to the relevant Member
On 14/10 we aim to discuss the matters raised by the July and August meetings (fires on plots, multiple plots at same address, Bullying and Aggression on sites, Mal-cultivation notices). Settle St have requested that Council policy about bee-keeping on allotment sites be added to that list. Lever Park have also requested other items to be added. At the 10/10 meeting Rawlyn Rd raised an issue about their waiting list, and Moss Lea about delays in answering monthly reports.

Fires on Plots

Based on the replies received to the survey done by Jeff, abas would make the following points
The April 2014 version of the Tenancy Agreement states (clause 13) that

It would therefore seem logical that where a plot-holder / tenant causes a nuisance by having fires, then this represents a breach of tenancy. However it has been asserted that a nuisance can only be proved though a court. Hence the following documents

This letter was accompanied by the following advisory note

It is important that tenants work together with Societies to prevent nuisance fires. If complaints rise again there is pressure on the Council to introduce a blanket ban on fires on allotment sites.

On-going Concerns

·         Moss Lea – No progress on the decision on communal vs individual greenhouses BUT action on other operational matters
·         Harpers Lane –No action on Pest Control or on promised repairs to Amenity Hut Door BUT action on Disabled Access (see later)
·         Florence Avenue – no progress on the car park
·         Shepherd Cross St – The asbestos has been removed

Abas followed up concerns from last month’s meeting and has received a reply from MR
The issue at Tonge Fold has been recognised and steps are being taken to ensure it does not re-occur
Action has been taken at Sapling Road – 7 Notices of Re-possession have or are being issued
Tonge Moor Rd issue needs further clarification

Mal-cultivation Survey

There are general issues about mal-cultivation notices but the position does not seem as dark as suspected after the Sept meeting
A key point is that the Council will ONLY act on information in the Monthly report
Most sites are solving most problems at Stage 1 stage with informal warnings to plot-holders.
Regular site inspections act as an incentive to plot-holders
Site secretaries need to be aware of opportunities to organise help for some tenants or to look at plot transfers and / or plot-splitting

The Mal-cultivation procedure was a major item on the agenda for the 14/10 meeting.
It was subsequently discussed and an amended statement of the procedure agreed which once ratified (hopefully by 21/10/16) will be posted on the abas blog-site

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

Disabled Access

Following the September meeting Harpers Lane contacted the Council again.

A Council Officer visited the site, assessed the situation and within a week council staff had effected site road repairs and filled potholes between the car park and the disabled person’s plot.
The Council will be returning to make repairs to the road from the gate to the car park.
Harpers Lane have also acquired two loads of cold planings and are organising a volunteer weekend to use these to fill more potholes.


(simply ‘google’ Tesco bags of help scheme’)

The Bolton CVS Small Grants Scheme has reopened
Bolton CVS website has details – check regulations

Any Other Business / Date of Next Meeting

Cllr Susan Howarth – Cllr Howarth has tabled a motion relating to local food growing for the Council meeting on 13th October. Once we know more we will contact Cllr Howarth to discuss her initiative.

Bottle Digger – Tonge Fold are suffering intrusions by people coming on site during the hours of darkness and digging on plots in the hope of finding Victorian bottles. The diggers have left large craters on some plots and damaged / destroyed growing crops.

The next meeting is the AGM on 14th November at Astley Bridge Cricket Club

Start Time 8.00 p.m.

Nominations are needed for officers and committee (they may be made at the meeting)

It is vital that all society secretaries make every effort to attend this meeting

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.