ASHFORD ALLOTMENT AGM followed by COMMITTEE MEETING
WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY COMMITTEE ROOM 2 CIVIC CENTRE

Present:
Mrs P Winston-Chairman and Bybrook Cemetery
Mr T Fagg- Cryol RoadMr G Button -Bulk Buying Manager
Mr S Heathfield- Gashouse FieldsMr M Cooper- William Road etc
Mr C Leek-Beaver
Ms J Fuggle- Repton
Mr B Stamp- Treasurer
Mr A Fraser- Membership Secretary
Carol Ridings- Secretary
Tracey Butler- Environmental Contracts and Operations Manager
Julie Rogers -Head of Environmental and Customer Service, ABC

Also present: Jonathan Goodwin, Alan Burbridge, Colin Waldron, Anthony Calland

1. Apologies

Mrs B Raggett- Westrees,
Ms C Green-Henwood,
Ms S Haste- Musgrove,
Mr R Taylor- Orion Way,
Eileen Law-Allotment Officer ABC

2. Chairman’s Opening Remarks

‘Greetings and welcome to all on this our annual general meeting for 2016.

Since September, Members of the Committee have been active in our major project- that of drawing up and updating our Constitution and Rules. It is over 20 years since the Council produced the Rules of the Ashford Allotment Forum, as it was called- and incorporated the new ‘Seed Shed’ now named  ‘The Trading Store’. In April 2006 the Council produced a set of terms of reference, which were known as The Rules of the Ashford Allotment Forum.

When it was decided to use the name Ashford Allotment Society these Rules were never amended to reflect the new name. It is now timely to have an updated, relevant, much needed constitution, following the new procedures agreed at Cabinet in September for our rents and payments as tenants to the Council.

The new constitution is formed from the original document, with additional content from other local societies in a completely new modern format.

The changes I proposed in September are incorporated namely:-

1A– The Membership Secretary shall keep a register of Members (Not the Secretary)

1B– The Membership Secretary shall have responsibility for all membership contact details

2– The post of Publicity Manager, Press Officer, and Web Site Manager to be separated into two roles:-  A Website Manager and a press, publicity Manager.

Since September, as agreed at our last meeting hard copies of the original document and the constitution of Hawkinge Society were available at the trading store. A draft constitution was printed in December. In early January the draft was available on request and at the Trading Store.

It has had several minor changes since that draft printing after suggested amendments.

Further clarifications have been suggested and these will be made clear:

6.2 The tenants bound by Society’s rules is not legally binding

6.3 Members are entitled on request to see their own membership information

10.   The ABC representative does not have a vote.

11. Mid term vacancies as other committee members are entitled to be in post for 2 years (the Secretary keeps a record of such and all appointments)

I therefore now seek a proposal that the Ashford Allotment Society should formalise our roles and responsibilities of our Committee, and bring our Society up to date in line with other societies to enhance our effectiveness, governance and accountability and governance.

The new constitution and rules were proposed by Alex Fraser and Seconded by Brian Stamp. A vote was taken and unanimously agreed.

Members present were asked if they had any questions. None were received.


Committee Meeting

1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks

“We now turn to our formal Committee meeting. A few brief words.

Redrafting the constitution has taken much time and effort and I would like to thank all members and those on the Committee for their suggestions and support.

We are in the middle of a very mild and wet winter (again) and hope soon we will be able to get growing and ready for the new season.

I would also like to thank Jonathan Goodwin of Warp Design who has given much time to develop our new web site which will be ‘going live’ on 1st February.”
Jonathan was then invited to give a demonstration of the new website – ashfordallotmentsociety.org It will link directly into the Council web site.
“There will be new features and is another exciting development to bring our society into one which is modern and fully functioning for the benefit of all members. So I am optimistic and positive that in 2016 we will go forward and continue our developments to enhance allotment gardening in the Borough.”

The vacant posts will be advertised on the web site. There will be editorial control over the content  of articles posted. The Chairman will do a recipe and ‘what to do on your plot’ each month. Mr Fagg has photographs from previous shows which can be uploaded onto the site.

2. Minutes

Formally adopted

3. Working Party Feedback

The working party was established in 2015, meeting on a monthly basis. The Council has been implementing the proposed changes. One of the objectives of the group was looking at the costs of running the service to try and run at cost neutral. The first new billing took place in September when a large number of people did not pay, this figure is now down to a dozen. This has increased payments of £4,700. Some tenants have been lost because of the changes and the waiting list has been reduced.

There have also been changes in tenancy agreements and keys. The working party is now looking at a water saving policy, billing update and a review of all allotment sizes so that people pay for the right sized plot, this will happen through out the year. There is still a need to engage with children to grow vegetables.

The meetings will become bi-monthly from February.

4. Treasurer’s report

There is now on line banking from Lloyds. The balance in the no 1 account  £3,400 and no 2 account £816. Total assets £4,394

5. Bulk Buying Manager’s Report

The onions have arrived and potatoes will be available from 6th February. The trading store is open every Saturday in February. Winston potatoes are not available this year due to crop failure.

6. Show Secretary’s Report

Mr Fraser was proposed by Mr Fagg and seconded by Mr Button.

“ Following the outstanding success of the 2015 Summer Show and the overwhelming opinion that Kennington Junior School is an excellent venue for the Summer Show, our Chair, Penny Winston, has approached the school again with a request to hold the 2016 Show there, and we await a positive response. The final date for the Summer Show will be published as soon as confirmation of the venue is received.

SUMMER SHOW FORMAT

In view of the excellent facilities Kennington Junior School offers in terms of space, car parking, kitchen and the hugely popular outdoor tea area, the 2016 Summer Show will follow the same format as before, with the usual range of prizes, the raffle, teas and cakes, and selected pop-up stalls.

2016 SUMMER SHOW SCHEDULE

The Schedule for the 2016 Summer Show is available and will shortly be published on the new Allotment Society website, along with newsletters and show updates. “

7. Publicity Officer’s Report

Vacant

8. Membership Secretary’s Report

MEMBERSHIP REPORT

As of 31st December 2015, paid-up membership of the Ashford Allotment Trading Store was as follows:

Trading Store Paid-Up Membership Numbers

2013: 48
2014: 92
2015: 117*

Trading Store Membership Revenue

2013: £192.00
2014: £368.00
2015: £467.00*

* Figures based upon up-to-date new membership and some previously available information.

MEMBERSHIP SUMMARY

As of December 31st 2015, membership of the Ashford Allotment Society numbered 265, of which 117 were paid-up members of the Allotment Trading Store.

MEMBERSHIP LIST The historical membership list remains incomplete, but individual member details continue to be added as members visit the Trading Store. Basic information for new plot holders is kindly being provided by Eileen Law, the Allotment Officer and ‘new member’ forms are being distributed with their Tenancy Agreements. Eileen has also sent a round-robin e-mail to council plot holders requesting permission to add their details to the e-mail register. It is also hoped that the new website will be used to increase membership and encourage even more customers along to the Trading Store in 2016 and beyond.

MEMBERSHIP CARDS The existing ‘yellow’ Trading Store membership card has now been abandoned in favour of a new ‘credit card’ style card, which is individually numbered and personalised with the member’s name. These new cards are more durable, easily recognisable and designed to last for 4 years. All existing members will have a new number and will be issued with a new card upon payment of the 2016 annual membership fee (£4). An opportunity will then be taken to complete any missing membership details. Members are asked to present their membership card whenever they visit the Trading Store, as this helps our records and acts as a receipt for the annual membership fee.

Once again, I thank all members for their co-operation in providing up-to-date membership information, and for the help Penny, Geoff and Tony have provided throughout 2015.”
The Chairman gave thanks to Mr Fraser for his hard work.
Julie explained that there had been a challenge under data protection over e mail addresses which was being sorted.

9. Report of the Allotment Officer

70 people are on the waiting list with 70 being on the list for 12 months.  Number of tenancies is 532, number of tenants 563.

Number of expired/expiring notices- 5 with 7 vacant plots- 3 at Christchurch, 1- Gas House Fields, 2- Musgrove, 1- William Road.

10. Site representatives report

Musgrove– No major problems
Beaver– No problems, 1 non cultivation notice
Repton– 2/3 new tenants, nothing to report
Christchurch/ William Road– Mr Cooper asked about the wheelie bins for water collection- Julie said that this was on the list of things to be done. There have been 6 break ins of sheds at William Road, nothing has been stolen and they have been reported to the police. There is a problem with the height of the fence along the footpath and people can jump over.

At Christchurch the fence is broken, and there has been a shed broken into at Jemmett. A new plastic case is required for the notice board.

Vivienne Lawson has left the area so Mr Cooper has taken over as rep for all the sites.

Cryol– All the plots are occupied. Plastic cover for the notice board required
Bybrook– 2 new tenants shown round, but as yet they have not done anything. 1 vacant plot. The new ½ plots have been very successful
Westrees– Mr Waldron, a tenant ,said that the overhanging trees on the Sainsbury’s side have been cut back and now the site looks very open, and the fence is sagging. Where there is a high fence people are crawling underneath the gate to get into the site. A whole shed has been removed, a panel has been removed from the fence and the lock on the inner gate does not function.

There was a request for graphite powder

Gashouse Fields- nothing

12. AOB

The Chairman explained a request from Christine Green- Henwood, which has always had it’s own small fund. She would like this included into the Society’s accounts.
There has been  a lot of support from Wilkinsons over the years with garden equipment sales etc and on 9 March they are launching their new garden range. This will be a fund raising event as well. Please support this event
There is a huge range of seeds – in date- at the trading store, for a donation.
Julie said that she had been very impressed how things have changed during the past year, and there have been massive changes in the society
The Chairman gave thanks to Julie and her team

Date of the next Meeting Please note change of day Monday 25th April 2016 Council Chamber 6.30
This is due to committee rooms being required for elections in May