click here for AGM minutes of 2013
Vale Road Allotment Society
Sunday 19th January 2014
Front Bar, United Services Club
Attendees: (34 people - representing 30 plots) Ann Atkinson & Anthony Dorey, Angelo Cannizarro, Chris Weston, Colin Gurr, Dave & Paula Bryant, Dave Midmore, David Pidgeon, Dave Smith, Eddy Campbell-Jenner, Fiona O’Leary, Jagger Ghugroo, John Gill, John Swaisland, Kevin Laue, Leslie Webb, Lynn Packham, Marie Innes, Martin & Nicky Parnell, Mick & Val Botting, Neil Clarke, Nicola Celano, Nina Mader, Patrick Sarsfield, Pietro Pistocchi, Ray Short, Richard Hackett, Robin Harrison, Roy Austin, Steve Atkinson, Sue Best, Tony Hardy
Apologies: (11 plots) Andrzej Miotla, Clive & Jane Cowley, Cherie’lee Harlow, John Froude, Jude Fruin, Gareth Brawn, Kate Rowbottom, Mick & Claire Jewell, Penny Davidson, Tim & Pauline Newnham, Stuart Meier
Welcome and apologies for absence
Martin Parnell welcomed a reasonable turnout at the AGM with members representing 30 plots. There were 11 apologies for absence.
Tony Hardy offered a bottle on Bells whisky to be raffled in aid of St Peter & St James Hospice. A total of £26 was raised and the whisky was won by Robin Harrison. Thanks to all who participated.
Acceptance of 2013 AGM Minutes and matters arising
Martin confirmed that the committee were happy with last year’s minutes as a correct record of the 2013 AGM and posted on the website and notice board; there were also copies available at the door. The meeting agreed to their adoption.
In the absence of a chairman (Cherie Harlow resigned early in her tenure and was never replaced) Martin stated that various matters arising would be covered in other committee reports (see below).
John Gill presented his report and the annual accounts (see attached document). Here are the highlights:
John explained the accounts. Unusually, there was a loss on the year as income was down and outgoing up.
Annual income was down on the two previous years. This was due to low plot turnover (see Secretary’s report below) with loss of associated £20 joining fees.
Outgoings were significantly higher than usual due to two extraordinary infrastructure items, namely the buying of locks/keys for the gates & container and the extension of water taps & tanks when the council replaced the pipes.
The National Association affiliation fee has been raised by 25p per plot holder. As the invoices have already gone out at the old rate, society funds will cover the increase for existing members in 2014. The new rate will be applied to 2015 invoices
John recommended a 20p per rod increase in plot fees from 2015. He gave the following two reasons and the meeting voted to accept the proposed increase:
Prices of all expenditure items are rising with inflation and the per-rod rate has not been raised for several years. Income needs to keep pace with expenditure and a modest rise now will restore parity.
Society funds would barely cover any extraordinary items in future years (e.g. more water facilities or replacement fencing)
John proposed that an additional water pipe run with tap(s) and tank(s) be installed at the top (high) end of the site where a temporary hose has been buried underground for several years. This pipe has split 3 times and has caused significant leaks this year. John estimated a cost of between £1,500 and £2,000. Expenditure of this amount would require consultation with the full membership but the meeting voted for John to proceed with getting quotes. Action: John
The Treasurer’s report was accepted.
Martin reported on three items discussed at last year’s AGM
The long-drawn-out issue of locking the site gates was now concluded. Locks were finally operating properly and relatively easily but still need the odd servicing with WD40. Thefts and vandalism seems to have almost completely ceased; any remaining incidents are thought to have been due to members carelessly leaving gates unlocked. The vast majority of members have accepted the irritation of locking/unlocking as an unfortunate necessity and a long exchange of emails during the year demonstrated that the will of the membership is clearly that ALL members should respect the view of the majority and lock the gates on entering and leaving the site. The meeting agreed that this matter is now closed.
The proposal for installing some form of toilet facilities was popular but the costs were considered far too high. Jagger has looked again at costs and it remains around £5,000. The meeting agreed that this matter is now closed unless a significantly cheaper proposal is made.
The Housing Association open (grass) space at the Vale Road end of the site is unsuitable for cultivation unless it is cleared of rubble. The Council cannot help with this but the Housing Association has been asked to ensure that the gate is padlocked at all times. The meeting agreed that this matter is now closed.
Plot turnover was unusually low in 2013.
Members leaving were Nick Gosset, Richard Ridgely, Kevin & Donna Parker, Dennis Nyman, Barbara Kania, Jean Sedgley, Dave Harris, Martin Cawdry, Brian Lisher & Lynne Parkes.
New members were Dave & Emma Smith, Kate Mitchell & Ashley Virgo, Neil Clarke, David Shahbazi, Hollie Sargent, Gareth Brawn, Kate Rowbottom & Anthony Edwards
Several members swapped to new plots.
Plot 82 is not currently fit for purpose and its future will be decided by the committee. It may require the purchase of topsoil to raise the height and prevent flooding. Alternatively it may be turned over to orchard with planting of trees.
Action: New committee
More than 2/3rds of the membership have now paid their annual subscriptions. Martin thanked them for their prompt payments and will chase up the missing ones next week. Action: Martin
There are currently 19 names on the Waiting List. Many of these are not yet ready due to illness or work commitments or have simply not confirmed. Each of the 19 will be contacted to see if they are still interested and the list will be cleaned up. Action: Martin
Martin reported many paths were in a disgraceful state with long wet grass obscuring edges, slopes and holes. Only today a lady fell and hurt herself. It is only a matter of time before someone breaks a leg. Several of the members present said that some people simply can’t be bothered to keep their paths decent and that they should be fined without notice. After a heated discussion it was agreed that a simple one-line note would be sent out saying “please cut your grass”; if this does not work, the committee will look into the possibility of fines but it is a step that Martin was reluctant to take unless absolutely necessary. Action: New committee
The Secretary’s report was accepted.
Annual Show and Picnic Report
Ann Atkinson presented a report on behalf or herself and Lynn Packham (see attached document). Here are the highlights:
Despite awful weather the Show and Picnic were a success.
Both Lynn and Ann are resigning from the committee due to other commitments and Ann will hand over all the material to the new committee. Action: Ann
John Gill voiced the opinion that the outlay on prizes was money well spent.
This was only the second year of competition and Ann noticed some areas where things could be improved. She will pass these on to the committee. Action: Ann
The date for next year’s event was agreed as 19th July, 2014 so that people can get it into their diaries now.
The membership thanked Ann & Lynn for all their hard work.
Working Party/Volunteer Report
Lynn Packham presented a report (see attached document) on the new system of volunteers and working parties. This replaced the annual tidy-up day of previous years. Here are the highlights:
There were sixteen members who volunteered to help out during the year.
Three working parties were organised but only one of these achieved anything, very poor attendance being the problem.
Lynn suggested that the new committee should change the approach to find a way to get better participation. Action: Committee
Several suggestions were made from the membership:
That each member should be asked to “donate” two hours per year to participate in working parties.
That various new ways to advertise working days and activities should be tried.
That the work required should be documented and publicised to get volunteers.
The new committee will review the situation and try any/all these ideas out. Action: Committee
Site Safety Report
Jagger presented a report (see attached document) on the achievements and problems experienced during the year. Here are the highlights:
All asbestos has been removed from site. Jagger thanks the committee members who had made safe disposal possible.
Jagged edges had been removed from corrugated iron around the site
The council will be looking to see if any trees around the perimeter need attention following the wet and windy weather.
Jagger echoed Martin’s comments about unsafe paths
It was noted that the new tarmac surface on the car park was running with water draining from site and may become dangerously slippery if frozen. Tony Hardy suggested that members put some of the sharp sand located at the Vale Road gate on the tarmac if this happens.
Jagger will be continuing in this role and will pursue any outstanding items from this year’s report. Action: Jagger
2014 Committee nominations and voting
Martin explained how resignations and the lack of a chairman had put extra stress on the rest of the committee in 2013 and outlined the likely outcome of reverting to Council control if a full committee could not be formed this year. The following nominations were declared together with the results.
There were four nominations: John Gill, Martin Parnell & Dave Pidgeon were all nominated and declined for various reasons. Tony Hardy was nominated and agreed to stand as (Acting) Chairman if the membership was prepared to vote for him. He explained his policy would be to enforce the existing rules around cultivation of plots but only through agreement of the committee. He reminded the meeting that he had previously spent a long spell as chairman but assured those who knew him then that he would not be as authoritarian but more “gentle” this time round. He was proposed, seconded and voted into the position.
The only nomination was Martin Parnell. He agreed to continue in the role but only if a chairman and full committee was in place. He was proposed, seconded and voted into the position.
The only nomination was John Gill. He agreed to continue in the role. He was proposed, seconded and voted into the position.
The only nomination was Jagger. He agreed to continue in the role but only for one more year and asked for someone to assist him. He was proposed, seconded and voted into the position.
Other committee members
There were a number of nominations. Several people declined and several others said they would consider standing in future years. Others agreed to stand but were unable to promise their regular availability. Martin expressed the view that new faces were essential to prepare for future years when current committee members resigned. The new members willing to stand were Chris Weston, Neil Clarke and (with limited availability) Dave Smith and Gareth Brawn. Martin proposed that all four join the committee and provide whatever time and effort they felt able to; this would bring committee numbers up to nine rather than the minimum of seven but would provide contingency for any resignations. All four were proposed, seconded and voted onto the committee.
Martin thanked the retiring members (Ann & Lynn) and those agreeing to stay on and expressed his gratitude to the new members. Roles will be allocated at the first meeting of the new committee and published on the website and the two gates so that members know who to contact. Action: Martin
The following minor changes to the rules were agreed
Rule 6: The example of buildings was expanded to include “large polytunnels” as this was a question that arose during the year
New Rule: The following new rule was added in response to a tractor/trailer causing damage, during delivery of manure, to a neighbouring plot. “Any damage, to plots or communal areas, caused by vehicles coming on site must be put right by the plot holder involved”
New Rule: The following new rule was added “Any posts or structures should not be concreted into plots as they will cause nuisance to future plot holders”
Martin noted that, whilst the committee may suggest new or changed rules in response to issues arising, the membership “owned” the rules and not the committee. He encouraged members to challenge rules they disagree with and suggest new ones they felt should be added at any time during the year.
Any new or changed rules would have to be “temporary” until voted in formally at the AGM but the committee would welcome ideas and suggestions.
The only proposal from the meeting was from Mick Botting who felt that the winners of the “best plot” Council awards were not given enough prominence in the notice of the gate. It was agreed that the 2014 awards would be better publicised and celebrated. Action: Martin
Any Other Business
There being no items in AOB, the meeting closed promptly. Many thanks to everyone who attended and to everyone who has already paid this year’s fees
Secretary, on behalf of The Committee.
VALE ROAD ALLOTMENT SOCIETY
INCOME AND EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT FOR THE 12 MONTHS OF 2013.
Income Outgo 2012 2011 2010
Plot Rents 1638.70 1996 1845 1599
Site Rent 140.33 135 136 132
Affiliation to National Body 168.00 168 168 164
Water 257.40 150 422 428
Insurance 68.90 69 75 64
Website 24.95 25
Picnic day 216.02 155
Petrol 19.40 25 26
First Aid kit 44.70 34
Locks/ Keys 572.36 281 42
New tap & tank 551.00
Asbestos removal 19.51
Sand (2 deliveries) 83.00
Secretary’s expenses 54.95
Totals 1638.70 2284.02
Excess of Outgo over Income shows a deficit for the year of £645.32
Account credit balance at 31/12/2013 £1760.18.
1. We have recorded a loss of £645 for the year, due almost entirely to the exceptional expenses on locks/keys and taps/tank.
2. The National body have said that they will increase the individual membership fee from £2.00 to £2.25 from 1/1/2014.
3. They also intend to issue membership cards to all members, with a possible value for trade discounts.
In spite of the loss recorded for the year following exceptional costs concerning locksropose an increase in fees for this year. However, looking to the future and in the knowledge that costs in general are rising, as a precautionary measure I would propose an increase in our plot rents from the current £3.80 per rod to £4.00 per rod from 1 January 2015. VALE ROAD ALLOTMENT SOCIETY