AGM 2013

Minutes of our AGM held 6 July 2013. Please note these are draft until approved at our next AGM.

 

ALLY PALLY ALLOTMENTS ASSOCIATION

Draft Minutes of Annual General Meeting

Saturday 6th July 2013

 

PRESENT: Alison Liney, Sally Chubb, Bob Hare, Peter Campbell, John Wilkinson, Jill Pullan, Pete Oliver, Evelyn Regan, Fred Clark, Anne Whalley, Hilary Thomas, Sally Brightling, Colin Roberts, Arthur Leigh.

APOLOGIES: Pamela Harling

MINUTES OF AGM 2012: Minutes agreed. Proposed by John Wilkinson, seconded by Bob Hare.

MATTERS ARISING: Security Camera: Colin asked for a progress report on this. See below.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Chair – Bob Hare

The Committee has held 4 meetings. This is the financial and legal basis of managing this site on behalf of plot holders and the Council. However, in addition to the formal meetings, twos and threes of us have met on site many times – very many in the case of Alison – to look at problems of gates, fences, taps, trees and other things that need work or a decision.

Thanks – On behalf of the meeting Bob thanked numerous people for everything they do. He felt it invidious to pick out names but made a special mention of some people. Colin deserves special mention with distinction. Without Colin we would all be less well watered, less securely fenced, less well gated and less informed (Colin made the top gate notice board). Neal, Peter and Mike have helped Colin with many of the things he has done. Tommy takes on some other jobs. Annie, Sally and Evelyn are about to start our coffee morning rolling, with the first opening tomorrow. Alison keeps an eye on the compost loo and John keeps an eye on the compost it produces. Last but not least, I want to thank all members of the past year’s Committee – Alison (Site Secretary), Sally (Minutes), Peter (Treasurer), Arthur, Jill, Evelyn, Jessica. Evelyn attends the Alexandra Palace Consultative Committee, which means we have an official link not just to our ultimate landlords but we know more about what’s happening to the building and park. Bob explained the progress of the regeneration of the park and palace building.

Park Events – Evelyn reported back on some of the planned events which include the Red Bull Soapbox Challenge and a large party to celebrate 150 years of Alexandra Park. There are plans to hold the Fireworks in November with a commercial operator who will charge for entry. As far as we know, we shall still have access to our allotment sites on that night. The Farmers Market is also celebrating their 10th Anniversary.

Plant Sale – Detailed thanks to everyone involved has been circulated. It was the most fantastic result. The total takings from the sale were £950.00 with a profit after expenses of £850.00. Colin was the mainstay of plant production, but many other plot holders contributed as well. Annie, Sally, Pamela and Evelyn managed the ‘cafe’ and many people contributed cakes and scones. Liz helped all day selling jams, books and bric-a-brac. John offered a big vote of thanks to Bob for organising this event.

Compost – We were hoping to arrange another delivery of compost by paying the Park’s JCB loader driver to load the smaller tipper truck that was needed to get the compost onto our site. Alexandra Park now say they are too busy to deliver this until the autumn, with hopefully several more loads in the winter. Dick who had previously tried various contacts to get us the lorry with grab that we need, emailed last week to say he had a new person who he would try.

CCTV Camera – Although this was discussed at the last AGM, we have not resolved whether to install these cameras to improve security. John Wilkinson is testing a possible camera on the site. If successful we will consider buying a similar type. Some discussion about the best way to use the cameras.

Meeting Shed – The Meeting Shed is up and running now. It can be used for socials, talks, exhibitions, workshops and also the Coffee Mornings which will be held the first Sunday of every month. Bob hoped Neal’s Art Students might be persuaded to exhibit some of their work on the allotments and that we could host some training sessions on showing vegetables for the CHADHAS show.

Natural Fencing – We are planning to plant some spiny bushes to reinforce our borders.

Trading Shed Co-ordinator – Peter Campbell

The Trading Shed is currently staffed by Ron, Liz, Sally, Peter and Pamela. 52 people have paid their subscription to CHADHAS which is roughly half the tenants on the site. The Shed is well stocked, information is provided on fertilisers etc and the sales of compost, in particular, has resulted in a healthy increase in takings. There will be a delivery of seeds for 2014 in December. Peter regularly sends round emails to tenants with information about new stock deliveries.

Site Secretary – Alison Liney

Waiting List – Now stands at 193. Alison has checked through the waiting list and removed people who have plots on other sites. The list has moved 20 places this year. We welcome new tenants to 6 plots: Tara and Nigel on 28A, Raffi and Sheri on 49A, Hilary and Sally on 17B, David and his family on 40AB, Claire on 29B and Helen on 2A the Nursery. I’m sad to report the death of two tenants: Sue Ritchie, who’s sense of humour did much to enliven committee meetings, and Dax, who had the little black dog and came to her plot every day.

Long list – The ‘Long list’ of people who have come to the top of the list but are not yet ready for a plot stands at 5. They need to contact Alison every year if they wish to stay on the list.

Probationary tenants – 1, Vacant Plots – 5, which are being relet. 3 previous probationary tenants have not been offered a full tenancy.

Security – Pilfering of flowers and crops, particularly just before the allotment show, has continued. There was a major break-in by metal thieves last August. Nearly all sheds were ransacked and metal items and some taps were taken. A break-in this April was confined to Alexandra Park. Jo lost some chickens, and strimmers and a bike were taken. There have been other minor incidents; a few sheds opened but nothing taken. Tommy saw two men handing bags of compost over the fence at the bottom the hill. Prickly plants have been put at this point in the fence now. The padlock on the bottom gate was cut recently. We have tried to make fences and gates less climbable. Colin has put up extra fencing and barbed wire (complete with warning notices) along the border with Alexandra Palace Way and Alison is meeting a council contractor on Tuesday with a view to increasing the height of the bottom gate posts. We should all try not to put compost bins, piles of earth or other climbing aids near fences. Every time we have a break-in Alison meets the police. The neighbourhood police have a key and are supposed to patrol. The advice is – don’t leave anything of value in your shed and don’t lock it because most of the damage is done breaking down the door.

Do we change the locks? The meeting discussed the pros and cons. Cutting new keys would be a large expense. The Golf Course Allotments have changed their locks and this has not stopped stealing from their site. Even if there is a new lock on the gates, the chain can be cut with a bolt cutter. Putting some sort of alarm on the gates did not seem practicable. The decision of the meeting, now that the boundary fences have been strengthened, was to monitor the amount of pilfering and break-ins and review the effectiveness of these improvements.

Neighbourhood Watch Scheme – Arthur Leigh is our contact. He forwards Alison police reports and advice which Alison sends on if they seem relevant. Security marking property could be an option.

Repairs and Improvements

Tree work – The large trees on the borders of the site are the Council’s responsibility. The Committee agreed to spend some of our maintenance grant on reducing some of the trees which shade plots i.e. the ash by the bottom gate and the horse chestnuts overhanging plot 50C. A small oak tree was removed because it was in the wrong place. We also made the unusual decision to clear the tangle of undergrowth which Dax had been unable to tackle in order to make the plot viable. There is a field maple in the corner of Grove Lodge Meadow which will eventually become dangerous and I shall insist that the council deals with that. We have also paid Pete Oliver to remove or reduce the saplings beside the trading shed and along the hedge between Grove Lodge Meadow and Alexandra Park, but it will, in future, be the responsibility of the plot holders concerned.

Plumbing – We have new taps with non-return valves throughout the site. Colin did the work in addition to digging out and replacing a stop cock. He has wired all the taps on and that has, so far, deterred the burglars. The Council will reimburse us for this expense. Thames Water threatens to inspect us one day but, thanks to Colin, we should pass!

New Fencing – most of this was along the bottom of plot 6A Alexandra Park. A work party cleared a considerable amount of rubbish from this part of the site, as we had from Dax’s plot months earlier, and stacked it ready for the rubbish collection. Colin sank new posts and fixed wire mesh to increase the height of the existing fence before topping it with barbed wire.

Rubbish Collections – we have had our allowance of two free collections per year, arranged to coincide with plot clearance. The men throw all the rubbish on and are happy to make several trips to the dump. The next collection will be in the autumn.

Allotments Forum – Sally and Alison continue to attend the quarterly meetings and the steering committee meets once between times, usually in Alison’s kitchen. Our main achievement has been to foil Council plans for a 100% rent increase. We hope to work with the Council on a decent plan for the future of allotments but, as a friend Alison’s used to say, it’s like dragging chains through cold porridge.

Keys and 10% off cards for the Capital Garden Centre - Available from Alison or from the Trading Shed. Alison will put up a notice and send round an email.

There was a heartfelt vote of thanks to Alison for all her very hard work as Site Secretary.

Treasurer – Peter Campbell

Peter presented the accounts for the year ending March 2013 with a balance sheet produced by Harry Pullan. We have spent £1400 more than our income this year, due to a backlog of work on repairs and improvements. The work on the taps is due to be reimbursed by the council. There has been a backlog of rogue trees to control and remove and this has accounted for a significant amount of the funds spent. Any new saplings should be the responsibility of the plot holder and part of the dirty plot regime. Alison will send round an email to tenants specifically about controlling and removing tree saplings on their plots.

The Plant Sale proceeds can be used for expenses which the Council grant for site maintenance does not cover, such as repairs to the Trading and Meeting sheds, equipment for the meeting shed etc. This money will not go in a separate account but Peter will keep an account of the balance in this fund. The surplus money from the Council compost delivery, for which we charge a small sum per load, can also go in this fund.

There was a vote of thanks to Peter for his work as Treasurer and also thanks to Harry Pullan for kindly producing the balance sheet for us.

Biodiversity – Sally Chubb

There were less dead hedgehogs reported this year, and frogs, newts, bats, sparrow hawks, blue tits, long-tiled tits, fieldfares, owls, blackcaps, nuthatches, ring-necked parakeets and a gold crest were all spotted on the site. There is information on local wildlife and planting for bees in the Meeting Shed and some spare bee friendly flower posters available from Sally. Would any children like to paint a wildlife picture to decorate the Meeting Shed? Do let us have any other ideas for encouraging wildlife on the site.

Haringey Teaching Apiary – Fred Clark

Fred reported that the HTA had to focus this year on keeping the colonies alive during the awful winter weather by feeding the bees regularly with sugar feed and rigorous checking. Fred thanked us for helping to fund the feeding. Having had one hive stolen, they now have four successful hives. During the recent hot spell there has been a problem with swarming, due to poor quality queens, as other beekeepers have also reported.

Last year’s team have stayed together with only one member of the course leaving. This year HTA have taken on one student and will only take on new students as and when this is manageable.

Unfortunately Fred has not been able to visit schools because of the poor condition of the hives after the winter, and now because the Bee Inspector has put a Stand Still Order on our hives as one of the hives on another plot was found to be diseased.

ELECTIONS

We understand that all the Committee Members are happy to stay on the Committee, with the same roles (proposed by Colin and seconded by Sally), but we are always keen to recruit new members. There are only three or four meetings or so a year to attend.

A.O.B.

Donations for Bee feed – bags of sugar or cheques can be made out to F. W. Clark and left in the Trading Shed. Cheques can also be posted in the post box outside the shed.

Polytunnel – Meeting agreed Colin’s suggestion of buying a polytunnel to use for about four months of the year to bring on plants for the plant sale. The polytunnel and staging will cost about £300. Val and Jill have also kindly donated the use of their greenhouse for plants for the sale early in the year.

Wildflower road verges in the Palace – The Park are not able to take up our suggestion for increasing the number of wildflowers in the Park for bees.

Votes of Thanks – to Bob, our Chair for all his hard work. Thanks also to Colin for donating his BBQ to the site and to Sally for writing the Minutes.