Hixon Allotments Association

Wellington Fields Allotments Association

Minutes of the AGM held on Friday 14th July 2017 in the Memorial Hall

1. Welcome and apologies.
Simon Ellin opened the meeting and welcomed the plot-holders.
Apologies were received from Joe Craen, Barry Williams and Mark Connell

2. Minutes of previous AGM and matters arising.
The minutes of the AGM held on 2nd July 2016 were read, approved and signed by the Chairman.
There were no matters arising.

3. Chairman’s Report (Simon Ellin)

Simon began his report by saying that Wellington Fields Allotments were established 7 years ago and are a fantastic asset to the community. There are 63 plots and 33 plotholders at present although 7 plots are vacant. 
Simon again thanked the Martin family for their original donation of the land and John Martin and Alan for all their work on the composting. He also thanked Barry for renovating and re-siting the notice board.
Simon then introduced the committee, who he said represented a cross-section of plot holders with a range of skills. He thanked them for their work over the past year. He announced that there is one vacancy on the committee and asked for anyone interested in joining the committee to let him know. 
Simon reminded everyone that the minutes of the meetings, which are usually held every couple of months, are posted on the website for all to read.
Simon was delighted to report that all differences between Wellington Fields Allotments and the Parish Council have now been resolved.
He explained that there are a few anomolies in the present tenancy agreement and that it is being re-written in consultation with the Parish Council and plotholders. It is hoped that the new agreement will be issued next February at the start of the next allotment year.
Simon was pleased that the Allotments Association is in a good position financially. Fundraising events will continue in the hope that eventually it will be possible to provide a new building on the site.

4. Secretary’s Report (Jane Garner)
Jane reported that we have had a good year with many positive developments although there is still a quite a high turnover of tenants with 7 plots being vacant at present. The committee are working to manage the empty plots, by strimming the weeds and then covering the ground.
Jane outlined the many efforts which have been made to attract new tenants and the committee is very pleased that the Parish Council has looked into the terms of the original Lottery Grant and has agreed that plots can now be offered to people from Weston, Gayton and Stowe.
The building was demolished after last year's AGM when all agreed that it was unsafe. Initially John tried to reduce the height of the walls but this was not possible.
The Parish Council have offered to provide boarding from the ring-fenced money to tidy the edges of the plots which meet the main access path. The committee have agreed to help install this.
The composting is working well and Jane again thanked John and Alan for all that they do. She also thanked John for leaving the big bucket and removing uncompostable items.

5. Treasurer’s Report (Karen Appleton)
Karen presented the accounts for 2016/17. She explained that she had colour-coded the accounts to differentiate the income and expenditure relating to rents and those from fundraising.
The sundries line shows the present for the accountant, who doesn't charge for his services.
The biggest expenditure has been the pest control, and this will be looked into for next year.
Only a small profit was made from seeds as not many were purchased.
Fund raising events provided £147.60.

6. Setting rents for 2018/19
The Parish Council have given us the projected figures for the rents and water charges for 2018/19. The rent charged has increased in line with the RPI and the water charges have decreased by £20.00 because they are paid in arrears and last year was very wet.
The running costs have increased considerably due to repairs to the strimmer and the purchase of weed-suppressant material to cover empty plots, but the committee have agreed to cover these costs from Association funds.
The rents for the next year will therefore only increase by the amount dictated by the RPI.
Simon said that the committee intended reducing the rents once tenants were found for vacant plots, but Paul Hopcroft suggested that any extra money from the next two years was kept to provide a contingency fund for future years. This was voted on and agreed.

7. Improvement Plan (Chris Hilton)
Chris Hilton introduced the achievements and developments from the Improvement Plan and went through the different elements.
In the next few months we are planning an open day and barbecue at the site as a social and marketing event.
There will be another supportive plot check soon as some plots are looking rather neglected.
The work on the Rail Disaster Memorial Garden by the church has progressed well. This has been led by Joe Craen with help from Tim Moss and the History Society. Donations have been received from individuals and local businesses and the ground has been cleared and planting begun. A stone with a brass plaque showing the names of those who died will be unvelied at the commemorative weekend in January 2018. Chris thanked Joe, Tim and Barry for all their work.
Chris said that finding new tenants was a priority, together with encouraging existing plot holders. It is hoped to produce welcome packs for new people and provide monthly tips through newsletters and on the website.
Nigel Baxter said that he would very much like to hear speakers on different horticultural topics as we can all learn new things.
Chris asked plot holders for any new ideas for inclusion on the Improvement Plan.

8. Vacant plots
Simon reported that The Parish Council had agreed that a maximum of six plots can be offered to people from Weston, Gayton and Stowe, but that people from Hixon would always take priority. As a result of this, a lady from Weston is coming to have a look tomorrow.
A committee working party is planned for next Tuesday, when the remaining empty plots will be strimmed and covered.
It was suggested that some plots could possibly be split into thirds, if people felt that the present half-size was too big.

9. Dogs on allotment site – review
There have been very few dogs brought onto the site and no negative comments. It was therefore agreed that dogs be allowed onto the site, in line with the code of conduct.

10. Election of officers
Simon Ellin was unanimously re-elected as Chairman
Karen Appleton was unanimously re-elected as treasurer
Jane Garner was unanimously re-elected as secretary
The committee was unanimously re-elected en bloc – Chris Hilton, Mark Connell, Alan Hartley, Rose Jones, Joe Craen, Barry Williams

11 AOB
Hedge – John asked if the committee would cut the inside of the hedge along Egg Lane and Simon agreed. 
Fence – John was concerned about the state of some of the fencing around the site. It appeared that some of the posts had rotted and the fence was now leaning. Karen said that she would contact Catherine to let her know and to enquire how much ring-fenced money was left.

Simon Ellin thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting