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Allotment Committee Minutes 22 September 2016


 


PRESENT:       
   
North Ward   

Councillor P Pester
Councillor D McGeough

South Ward   

Councillor S G Inch

Tricks   

Mr K Jackson
Mr S Long

IN ATTENDANCE:   

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Mr D Hoile (Marland Chairman)
Mr D McLellan

001  ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN

Councillor Pester was proposed by Councillor Inch and seconded by Councillor McGeough.

RESOLVED: That Councillor Pester is appointed as Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.

Vote: For: 5, Against: 0)

(Councillor Pester assumed the Chair and thanked the Members for their vote.)

002  ELECTION OF A DEPUTY CHAIRMAN

Councillor McGeough was proposed by Councillor Pester and seconded by Councillor Inch.

RESOLVED: That Councillor McGeough is appointed as Deputy Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.

Vote: For: 5, Against: 0)

003  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors D Brenton (South Ward – personal), B Wootton (South Ward – personal) and S Robinson (East Ward – personal).  Ms J Anderson and Mr A Mitchell (Pollyfield).

004  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

005  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

There was no public participation.

006  MINUTES

The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2015 were approved as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 5  Against: 0)

007  INTRODUCTION OF DEPOSIT FOR NEW TENANTS

The Deputy Town Clerk advised Members that despite the clause requiring those tenants relinquishing their plots to leave them in such condition as expected, by the tenancy agreement during their tenure, many were left in a poor state.  The result would find the new tenant having to labour a difficult plot or put the onus on the Site representatives and willing helpers to return it to a suitable condition for rental.

Mr Jackson expressed concern and speculated that it may have a negative effect for prospective new tenants.  He believed that the six month probationary period recently introduced needed to be enforced citing a gentleman who had yet to fully embrace his plot. 

Members saw merit in reducing the probationary period from six to three months but expressed support for the deposit introduction.

On confirmation that the deposit would be introduced to new tenants it was

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That with immediate effect all new tenants (Handy Cross and Marland Associations excepted) will be expected to pay a deposit of £25.00, refundable on termination providing the plot is left in an acceptable condition.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

008  FORMAL SITE INSPECTIONS

Following discussion Councillor McGeough advocated the maintaining of a quarterly inspection; Mr Long indicated that the Inter Site Challenge judgement day could be included / represent one of the inspections. 

Councillor Inch did not believe that the whole Committee need be in attendance.  The Chairman stated either he or the Deputy with one other Committee Member and a staff member would conduct the Site inspections. 

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That the Chairman / Deputy Chairman along with another Committee member and staff member will conduct quarterly site inspections during the months of October, January, April and July.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

009  MARLAND ALLOTMENT SITE

a.   Mr David Hoile, Chairman of the Marland Allotment Association, advised that the Site is looking good, four new tenants had taken plots and that an after school club initiative with six to seven children was working well.

The Association is looking into making a disabled or less-abled plot with easy access paths for the use of wheelchairs or walking frames.  For the easily accessible paths they are looking into products made of recycled materials that would be removable or transferable.

In questioning their funding streams (possible application to Bridge Trust) Councillor Inch encouraged approaching their District (Ward) Councillors.

Mr Hoile did state that he would be putting in (for himself) raised beds for easy reach so that he can continue gardening adding that they would be easily removed were he to give up his plot.

He noted that they are still waiting for the Builders (Boden) to build the wall between the respective sites.  Recent conversations indicated a delay of at least another two months; the issue has been running for two years.  This will impact upon those plot holders who may have to remove their sheds to allow access (for the builders to build the wall).

Mr McLellan added that he had spoken to a director from Boden, earlier today, who had sought clarification on what had been agreed at a previous site visit.  He confirmed that Boden will write to the Council confirming their undertakings providing help with the movement (some replacement) of sheds / water butts.  The Chairman warned against boundary creep; Mr McLellan had been assured that this would not occur.

b.   Complaint from Union Close resident regarding the poor condition of a shed, clearly visible from their living room.

Members had received a synopsis of correspondence received by the Council and the Associations reflections.

Mr McLellan confirmed that the Association had considered the Complaint and noting from their recently held AGM:

•    There was significant discussion of the issue.
•    It was proposed that “we are willing to undertake any remedial action in respect of the roof”.
•    The Committee will organise a working party to deal with this action.
•    Concern was expressed that any action taken on this issue should not be seen as setting a precedent.

He added that the Association had been in contact with Dean Smith (TDC, Community Safety and Public Lead Officer) regarding concrete/asbestos roofing and had been advised that providing the roofing was stable and secure there was no requirement to remove it.  The Association believe it is stable and secure; it would be safer to retain rather than remove the roof.

A single issue committee meeting was held on 16 September where it was agreed to replace any of the plastic / polycarbonate roofing that was damaged and generally tidy up the appearance of the shed and its environs as soon as convenient.

Three Members of the Association Committee viewed the Shed via a stepladder and it was confirmed that only the plastic roofing sections showed any significant damage.  Furthermore internal viewing confirmed that the concrete / asbestos corrugated sections were firmly attached to the shed structure and that it appeared sound.

Councillor Inch noted that the Association had taken a thorough approach in investigating and addressing the concerns of the complainant.

The Chairman thanked Mr McLellan and remained satisfied that once the work had been carried out the Association will have done everything that could have reasonably been expected.

010  HANDY CROSS ALLOTMENT SITE

Members had been provided with a brief from the newly elected Chairman of the Handy Cross Allotment Site, Mr Stu Bailey, in his absence.  The Secretarial and Treasurer role had also been changed with Sonia Whitehill and Sue Vanstone respectively appointed to the roles.

In the report it was noted that the local Badgers have a liking for sweetcorn which has seen many plot holders lose this year’s crop.

It was confirmed that the new gate has been a real success and access can now be gained by pulling straight onto the site without turning in the gateway opposite.

Of greater concern was the notification that the padlock was cut from the Gate at some time over the weekend (17/18 Sep 16) and a Rotavator stolen from one of the tenant’s sheds; this was reported to the Police.

Councillor Inch noted the remoteness of the Site whilst Mr Long warned that it could be only the beginning, reflecting on past Site strikes.

Following further discussion the Chairman requested that the Association is asked what feedback they have received from the Police and what (security) measures they have considered (do they have suggestions for the other Sites?).

011  TRICKS SITE UPDATE

a.   Site update.

Mr Long advised that the Wild Life Garden was taking shape and that the Site generally remained in good condition.  He spoke highly on the new fencing (and the contractor) – how it had effectively reclaimed plot space - but noted that the weed killing operation conducted by Ben had not been a success.  (Councillor Inch advocated “SBK” that can be purchased “off the shelf”.)  He also stated that the waiting list had increased and he would be showing two prospective tenants the Site (tomorrow).

He expressed concern over the Handy Cross break in and speculated on possible deterrent measures.  Following discussion it was felt that a local security firm could be approached.  The Chairman intimated that the information could be shared / applied to the other Sites.

b.   Extension to the fencing to the overgrown west side boundary / hedgerow.

Mr Long reiterated and Councillor Inch confirmed the excellent work the Contractor Mr Jeffery had made in cutting back the hedgerow and installing such an effective fence; Mr Jackson too noted the work.

The Deputy Town Clerk advised that Mr Jeffery had quoted a total of £1,250.00 to erect the remaining dividing area although he could work in three stages but at a cost of £450.00 per stage.  He had indicated an appropriate work date in November 2016.

The Deputy Town Clerk wondered whether the soon to be engaged Council employees could do the work albeit their skill set / experience was not known.

Councillor Inch strongly believed Mr Jeffery should be engaged to complete the work as he would maintain the integrity of the build / quality / aesthetic.  He did not see that there would be any saving given that materials would have to be arranged / purchased and the time taken to erect the fencing could see further delays. 

Mr Long would make arrangements to help with the disposal of the detritus from the hedge / ivy.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Pester and

RESOLVED:  That Mr Jeffery is engaged to continue and complete the fencing, at a cost of £1,250.00, on the west side boundary / hedgerow. 

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

012  POLLYFIELD SITE UPDATE

The Deputy Town Clerk advised that concern had been raised over local residents parking their cars in the Private Parking area restricted to Pollyfield Allotment Site Tenants.  He noted that having taken advice from the TDC Solicitor there were limited options.

Councillor Inch suggested that although the entrance was wide one or two lockable bollards could be considered.

013  LEVEL OF RENT FROM 2016/17

Committee members felt the level of rents for Bideford Allotments 2017/18 should remain the same.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Inch and

RESOLVED: That the Council maintain the current level of rents for the 2017/2018 year at £ 25.00 for a full plot and £ 12.50 for a half plot.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

014  CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE BUDGET FOR 2017/18

After a discussion on the needs of the individual sites in the coming year, the introduction of Council Maintenance Staff and contingency amounts, it was

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RECOMMENDED:  A budget of £3,760.74 for 2017/2018: the shortfall of £2,000.00 requested from Central Funds combined with an expected income of £2,280.00.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the Committee for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.30 pm.



     
     
     
     
     
     
   






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