Friday, 24 November 2017


Held at Astley Bridge Cricket Club, on 13th November 2017 starting 8.00 p.m.
Present: 30 representatives from 18 sites
Plus Mr Malcolm Russell (Head of Neighbourhood Services, Bolton MBC)

Minutes of the 2016 AGM 

The Minutes having been posted on the Association Blog-site for the appropriate period and there being no objections the minutes were adopted as correct.

Matters Arising 

GMSF – The Chair has continued to liaise with other GM societies (through the Salford Federation)

There are no other outstanding matters from the 2016 AGM



1/11/2016 to 31/10/2017


Grant from University of Bolton

Members' Donations

Show Entry Fees

Donation from J Gibson

Prize Monies Unused

Subs 2016 (belated)

members' Subs 2017


Bank Interest



Computer Security

NVS Membership plus Medal

Printing & Stationery

Mileage Costs (Competitions Judging)

Show Judges Fee

Prize Monies for Show

Room Hire

Catering For Guests (Show)

Event Insurance

Engraving Trophies

Presentation Flowers




BANK BALANCE 7/11/2016

(current and Reserve)


BANK BALANCES 13/11/2017






The accounts were accepted unanimously

ABAS Membership

A number of societies have not yet paid their annual subscriptions to the Association.

Of these the majority had expressed their intention to pay their subs at this AGM or in the near future once their own AGMs have taken place. We will therefore review membership at the March 20178 meeting.

We intend to actively campaign to get more sites (especially non-OMA sites) to join the Association

Secretary’s Report and Report on the Progress Meetings with the Council

During the year we have tried when asked by member societies to raise their concerns and get clarifications of their queries.

A full Report on the Progress Meetings held with the Council and on related matters such as the updating of the OMA documents was given (in written form) to all Society Representatives present.

Copies of that Report and the Annual Accounts were subsequently emailed to any societies not represented.

A number of key points were made.

It is important to remember that:

Abas is not the Landlord (or Manager) of the Allotments Sites – plot-holders are tenants of the local authority, their relationship with the Authority is governed by their Tenancy Agreements.

Abas’ comments and advice on matters relating to policy and management are made in good faith and on the best information available to us at the time, (whenever possible after full consultation with the Council’s appointed officers) but they are exactly that comments and advice (unless we state clearly that we are simply repeating the precise interpretation issued by the Council)

As situations change we may revise our advice to reflect new information.


Bolton Allotments Competition 2017 – organised by Abas, prizes sponsored by J Maher Ltd.

Bolton Onion Leek and Vegetable Show 2017 – organised by Abas, with financial support from the University of Bolton

Liaison with NWCAA

The Chair reported on the last NWCAA Forum on 30/10/2017

Issues covered had been:

·         Concerns over Bullying have been referred to NAS HO
·         Widespread complaints of Councils “not keeping promises”
·         NAS still investigating blanket insurance scheme for all NAS members
·         NVS as an organisation


The Chair reported that Mr Brian Southworth was retiring from Rawlyn Road Allotments after 45 years on the plots. Mr Southworth has been a firm and valued supporter of Abas since its relaunch in 2014. We all wish Mr Southworth a long and happy retirement.


There was a general discussion on relevant matters

Points to note are:

·         Secretaries should only consider submitting Monthly Reports during the winter months if they feel there is a need to do so.

·         MR has advised that Breach of Tenancy requests (essentially mal-cultivation) will not be actioned during the period November to March.


The following were (re)elected

Chair Jeff Gibson
Secretary Dave Jackson
Treasurer Terry Farrell

Committee Members – Carole Deplitch, Phil Warren, Alan Key, Teresa Morris

Next Meeting

Our next Meeting will be in March 2018

Monday, 30 October 2017

CVS Training Course

The role of your local councillor

Local councillors are elected to represent the interests and needs of the people and communities they serve. It is their role to develop links with the community and represent that community’s interests in the council.

This short workshop will help learners gain an understanding of who their local councillors are, their role in representing the different areas of Bolton and how community organisations can make positive links with their councillor in order to champion the needs of people they support.

This short workshop will be delivered by Councillor Ebrahim Adia from Rumworth ward, Bolton

15th November 2017, 10:00 till 11:00

For more information:


For more information on upcoming Training Courses and to book onto a course please visit:

If your group is a full member of Bolton CVS with an income below £25,000 you may be eligible for one of our Big Bolton Fund Training Grants which cover up to 80% of the cost of our non-accredited courses. To apply for one of our training grants please visit:

Tuesday, 17 October 2017



9th October 2017

Present: 27 members from 12 societies

Previous Minutes

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.

Matters Outstanding

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.)

Future Actions

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

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.

Meeting Dates

Our next Meeting is our AGM on Monday November 13th starting at 8pm at the Astley Bridge Cricket Club

Thursday, 14 September 2017



11th September – 2017 – at Astley Bridge Cricket Club – the meeting commenced at 8.00 p.m.

Present: 20 members representing 11 sites

Minutes of the August Meeting

The August Minutes having been posted on the Association Blog-site during August the minutes were accepted by the membership as being correct.

Outstanding Matters

It was reported that two questions had been put to the Head of Neighbourhood Services (Malcolm Russell)

Qn: Do Council Officers have to give a tenant 24 hours’ notice of their intention to enter onto a plot?

Ans: Strictly speaking yes, it’s in the tenancy agreement. However this is rarely an issue as the tenant is usually absent when they have cause to do so

Qn: What if a Society cannot carry out an inspection on a particular plot.

Ans: In such cases the neighbours will usually raise a complaint about the plot and the Society should submit these complaints on the Monthly Report. This will then be taken as evidence of a need for action and the Council will take appropriate action as and when resources permit.

Previous Backlog

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

Subsequent communications from Site Secretaries suggested that this was not the case (Abas had  pursued at least one issue and will pursue others as they are raised with us by Site Secretaries).

The meeting instructed the Secretary to follow up one particular Health and Safety case and to email Malcolm Russell expressing our concerns. It was also argued that contact should be made with the Ward Councillors.

Some sites reported that BoTs had been processed. The Secretary asked that sites keep him informed when actions result from the submission of Monthly Reports etc. in order that Abas may have a balanced picture of the Council’s performance.

Abas future strategy

27 questionnaires have been distributed (we have multiple contact points for some sites and none for others) and as of 08/08/2017 we had received 11 replies (Two further replies are expected imminently).

Reminders have been sent

A preliminary analysis has been done and shared with Committee members. This shows a high degree of dissatisfaction with the reliability and speed of Council responses to site needs. There was a strong feeling that the Council is failing to meet its side of the OMA agreements.

Members felt that the OMA Agreements had offered a possibility of a more productive partnership between the Council and the allotment societies, but that the Council had not shown sufficient initiative or commitment to the idea to make it work as we had all hoped.

Members present recognised that the Council has severe resource problems but feel the constant placing of allotments at “the bottom of the pile” when it comes to dealing with matters is not acceptable.

Members therefore instructed the Committee to seek (as a matter of urgency) a meeting with the relevant Cabinet and Executive members and also the Head of Neighbourhood Services.

Members also instructed the Committee to contact all elected members to inform them of the feelings of the allotments community.

Site Secretaries were also encouraged to contact their own Ward Councillors to start a dialogue. IT was pointed out that a problem is that while a site may be in one Ward, the plot-holders may be drawn from several. Abas has had similar difficulties in the past contacting MPs about cross-Borough matters, MPs demand a reply address within their own constituencies.

Freedom of Information Request

Unfortunately due to a range of domestic and other commitments the Committee had not had time to analyse the information received from the 2 FoI requests. We will try to get on with this as soon as time permits

Risk Assessments

Tonge Moor Road Allotments Society had drawn up some Risk Assessment documents – which cover Health and Safety requirements etc.

With Tonge Moor’s agreement these will now be placed on the blog site.

GM Spatial Plan

The position on the GMSF is

A Lead team has been established to re-write the Plan. This team will be lead by Paul Dennett – Salford City Mayor
Initial Results of 1st Consultation (based on 27,000 responses) will be published in Sept 2017
Second draft of GMSP to be developed from Jan onwards
Publication of 2nd Draft – June 2018
Followed by a 12-week consultation period

Members were urged to keep up to date with developments via which is Andy Burnham’s mayoral website.

Abas is trying (with the assistance of NWCAA and others) to obtain data on existing allotment provision in Greater Manchester. So far 4 authorities have responded. Whilst this initiative has some connections to the GM response (lead by Don Booth – Salford) it is also needed to support pressure for new / improved provision in Bolton itself. Preliminary results suggest Bolton is ‘middling’ in terms of provision in Greater Manchester.

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
Age Concern may be able to help identify sources of funding for e.g. disabled access –

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 paid by the AGM in November.

Any Other Business
Supplies of Chipped Bark / mulch etc.
Haslam Park passed on a contact who may be able to supply quantities of chipped bark etc. “Danny” on 078056 29352
There was an enquiry about poly-tunnels and a number of sites confirmed that they had such.
First Tunnels and Northern Poly-tunnels were suggested as possible suppliers.

Meeting Dates
Our next Meeting is on Monday October 9th

Then Monday November 13th which is our AGM

Please note that the AGM will see elections for officers and committee. If you are interested in standing please come forward.

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