Hixon Allotments Association

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Minutes of the Committee meeting held on 
Tuesday 26th January 2016 in the Bank House

Present: Simon Ellin (SE) (Chair), Jane Garner (JG) (Secretary), Karen Appleton (KA) (Treasurer), Rose Jones (RJ), Chris Hilton (CH), Mark Pearce (MP), Barry Williams, John Martin, Jane Martin 

Apologies: Joe Craen, Alan Hartley.

1.16.1 Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 25th November 2015 were approved and signed by the Chairman. Risk Assessments – Still on-going. 
First Aid – Simon attended the first aid training arranged by the Parish Council. 
Plot Inspection – Mark will work on the next newsletter and will include a note asking all plot holders to ensure that plots are kept reasonably tidy. 
Weed suppression – Members of the committee met at the end of November and covered two empty plots with the potato sheets from John. 
Building – The committee again expressed concerns surrounding the safety of the derelict building and hope to open a dialogue with the PC to find a solution to the problem and agree on a way forward. 
Entrance – Work to repair the entrance is scheduled to begin on 22nd February, depending on the weather. The work will take 3-4 days and the entrance will be out of bounds for this time to allow the concrete to harden. Jane will email plot holders to give them advance warning, with further details given nearer the time. Simon thanked John for his input and for his contribution of half the costs. John asked if Simon would write a letter to Catherine Gill, apologising for the email sent last year. Simon agreed. SEMPJGSE

1.16.2 HPC situation.
Simon gave a brief resume of the PC meeting which he, Chris and Barry had attended in December. The addendum to the contract was not signed but there was a frank exchange of views which brought issues out into the open and informed new Parish Councilors. An email was then received from the PC suggesting that they invoice the plot holders, but that we collect the monies on behalf of the PC. After long discussions the committee's agreed response was to propose that the treasurer issues detailed invoices, using the PC's figures for rent and pro rata water charges. The charge for running costs will now also be pro rata, as agreed at last year's AGM. The membership subscription for NSALG will be shown on the invoice. Notes at the bottom of the form will explain all the costings. The committee proposes that the treasurer will issue the invoices to plot holders who will continue to pay WFAA. The treasurer will then pay the rent and water charges to the PC. Simon will draft an email to the PC, explaining the committee's proposal, asking for their comments and emphasising yet again that the committee is united in the wish for the development of a true partnership with the PC for the benefit of all plot holders and the future of WFAA. SEKA
1.16.3 Public Liability Insurance. The public areas of the allotment site are covered by the PC's Public Liability Insurance. There were concerns that the individual plots and plot-holders were not covered by this. Enquiries were made and Shield can offer cover for this for an annual premium of £98.69. This was put to the PC and they have agreed to pay. Jane will take out this cover and the PC will then be invoiced. Once this has been arranged, Clause 5 of the contract will be amended. Mark P will mention this in the next newsletter. JGMP

1.16.4 Charging structure and invoicing.
Karen will work out the figures, based on 61 plots and will enter these onto the invoice form. (See 1.16.2) KA

1.16.5 Financial report.
The account balance on 13th January 2016 was £1038.10.Expenditure includes £10.00 voucher for the best plot, £183.33 went to Kings Seeds for orders. Income includes £253.10 from seed orders, showing a profit of £68.77 and top-up rent from a new plot holder. 

1.16.6 Pest control.
As there is still considerable evidence of rats in and around the allotments it was agreed that the contract be renewed for another year, at a cost of £180.00. Karen will send off the forms and will contact Shaun and arrange for him to come. KA

1.16.7 Leafleting and membership update.
There are now three new plot holders and another person who might be interested. At present there is one vacant plot. Mark P spoke to Horn End nursery to see if they would be interested in having a plot. The manager was very keen but unfortunately the owner was not. 

1.16.8 Improvement Plan.
Many of the items on the plan are being completed and it was felt that the social and fund-raising aspects should now be addressed. It was decided that a quiz be held in the Bank House on Sunday 10th April. Simon offered to work on the questions and be the Quiz Master. An open day and barbecue will be held in June or September. Any money raised will be put towards work the building. Karen offered to work on a 'Growers' Guide' for new plot holders with links to useful websites. SEKA

1.16.9 Signage.
The new signs, donated by Barry, are now on the gate. Simon thanked Barry for his generosity and Mark Farrington for installing them. 

1.16.10 Website.
Alan was not at the meeting but he will be asked to activate the new website now that the signs are on the gate. 

1.16.11 Memorial garden.
Simon had received an email from Janet Hopkins, whose sister had died in the rail crash, asking about a possible memorial as the 50th anniversary of the accident will be in January 2018. Joe would like to be involved in this and so it will be an agenda item for the next meeting. JC

1.16.12 A.O.B.

Next meeting: Wednesday 16th March 2016 at 7.30pm in the Bank House.


Minutes of the Committee/Improvement Plan meeting held on 
Wednesday 25th November 2015

Present: Simon Ellin (SE) (Chair), Jane Garner (JG) (Secretary), Alan Hartley (AH), Rose Jones (RJ), Mark Connell (MC), Chris Hilton (CH), Mark Pearce (MP), Joe Craen (JC), John Martin, Jane Martin 

Apologies: Karen Appleton, Barry Williams

1115.1 Welcome.
Simon welcomed John and Jane Martin to the meeting and thanked them for their interest in WFAA. 

1115.2 Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 6th October were read, approved and signed by the Chairman.
Risk Assessments – Still on-going.
First Aid – Simon is booked on the next PC First Aid training which will is being held on 29th November.
Plot Inspection – There are several untidy and neglected plots. A note will be put in the next newsletter asking all plot holders to ensure that plots are kept reasonably tidy.
Weed supression – Members of the committee will meet at 10.00 on Sunday (29th November) to cover the empty plots with the potato sheets from John.
Compost – John and Alan have worked to create two new large compost bays. John will now be able to turn the compost using the Manitou. Simon thanked John for his help and generous donation of materials.
Building – The PC have asked John to stop the demolition of the building but did not give a reason. Simon expressed concerns that the building is unsafe and that there are health and safety issues which need to be addressed. John offered to speak to Brendan again to see if we can move forward with the removal of the building. This will make space for a useable building and will also make access easier. The signs from the building are still in Simon's shed.
Entrance – John reported that the PC now have three quotes for the work to repair the entrance and that the work is in hand. SESEJM

1115.3 HPC situation – Simon briefly explained the current situation with the PC to John and again stressed that the main difficulty was the lack of communication. It is proving very difficult to know how to proceed without a dialogue. 

1115.4 Finance Report.
Karen was unable to be at the meeting for family reasons and so there was no financial report. 

1115.5 Waiting list.
Jane has received notification from 5 plot holders that they wish to give up their tenancy. One plot has been taken by a new plot holder who has already begun work, but there is no-one on the waiting list at present. Barry and Mark P have produced some posters and leaflets advertising the allotments and these have now been printed. The posters will be put up around the village and the leaflets will be delivered to every house. The PC have some building-objection cards to deliver so it was agreed that we work together on the distribution of both. Jane will liaise with Catherine. Barry has offered to fund the rent of a plot for use by the school. Mark P offered to speak to the school and Horn End Nursery to see if they would be interested in taking on a plot. JGMP

1115.6 Welcome sign.
Barry has produced some brilliant designs for a welcome sign for the gate. Two signs would be needed for both sides of the gate, with possibly a space or facility to advertise any vacant plots. We will work with Barry to see how best to proceed. BW

1115.7 AOB.
Rat boxes – What appears to be a rat block has been found in the chicken manure. This is being dealt with.
Funding – Mark C has found out about a weekly grant of £300 from Cadbury. It was suggested that committee members look at the website to see if it is worth applying. Chris offered to work with Karen to explore other sources of funding.
Social events – It was agreed that we hold a social evening in the new year and Simon offered to organise a quiz. An open day and barbecue will be planned for next summer. MCCHKASE

Next meeting: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 7.30pm 

Wellington Fields Allotments Minutes of the Committee/Improvement Plan meeting held on
Tuesday 6th October.

Present: Simon Ellin (SE) (Chair), Karen Appleton, (KA) (Treasurer), Jane Garner (JG) (Secretary), Alan Hartley (AH), Rose Jones (RJ), Mark Connell (MC), Chris Hilton (CH), Barry Williams (BW)

Apologies: Mark Pearce, Joe Craen
915.1 Welcome.
Simon welcomed John Martin to the meeting and hoped he would be interested in the progress of the Improvement Plan. 

915.3 Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 6th August were read, approved and signed by the Chairman.
Chippings – Alan had managed to contact Countryside Management and arranged for the delivery of a large load of chippings. These were quickly used by plot-holders and Alan will organise another load once the expected chicken manure has been delivered and used.
Risk Assessments – Still on-going.
First Aid – The First Aid courses are on Friday evening and Monday afternoon. Unfortunately these dates are difficult for most of the committee, but Simon is about to undertake First Aid training through his work and so he offered to be the designated first aider.
Plot Inspection – Four of the five plot-holders have responded and and are working to sort out their plots. One person has not responded and Jane will write to him again.
Weed suppression – John Martin offered some large potato sheets for covering empty plots. This offer was gratefully accepted and John will deliver the sheets to the allotments.
Water bill – Jane has emailed Catherine, who said that the PC were still resolved to invoice plot-holders directly for the rent next year and that the charges for water would be included then. SESEJG

915.4 Improvement Plan.
Chris gave a brief introduction to the Improvement Plan for John. He explained that it had come about from the AGM and that there had been input from several plot-holders. Chris felt that good progress was being made and that he would be up-dating the plan to reflect this. A few of the points from the Plan were then discussed.HPC – There were still concerns about the on-going situation with the PC over invoicing and was felt to be important that these issues be resolved as soon as possible so that we can develop a partnership with the PC to achieve the aims of the Plan. Simon will write again to Brendan asking for a meeting, in the hope of resolving the difficulties as quickly as is possible.
Entrance – Members of the PC have had a site meeting to look at the problems with the entrance and are in the process of getting quotes for the work.
Building – John was asked about the building and said that he was happy to demolish it to make way for a new building which could be used for a storeroom, shop and shelter and which could be sited in a more appropriate position.
Composting – John suggested that if the composting bays were larger he would be able to turn the compost and empty the bays using the Manitou. He also offered some telegraph poles and sleepers which could be used to make some new bays. Simon thanked John very much for his positive input and offers of help. SEAH915.5 
Finance Report.
There has been no change from the balance as on 13th August (£1,220.33), although Karen has recently sold the remaining Environmesh for £40.00. Karen has received several seed orders but is hoping for a few more before she sends them off. 

915.6 Welcome sign.
No-one has come forward with ideas for a design so this will be discussed again at the next meeting. 

915.7 Waiting list.
Four plot-holders have indicated that they will be giving up their plots. As there is no waiting list at present Jane will put notices in the shop and the Memorial Hall and on the gate to the allotments. Chris will add a note to the WFA Face Book page and will post a link on Hixon's Community page. JGCH

915.8 A.O.B..
Rat boxes – These have been topped up again and the position of the boxes has been marked on the Plot Plan on the notice board.
Broken gate – Mark Farrington (from County Fencing) has repaired the gate, free of charge. 

Next meeting: Tuesday 17th November at 7.30pm

Wellington Fields Allotment Committee
Minutes of the Committee/Improvement Plan meeting held at 7.00pm on Wednesday 19th August at The Bank House.

Present: Simon Ellin (SE) (Chair), Karen Appleton, (KA) (Treasurer), Jane Garner (JG) (Secretary), Alan Hartley (AH), Rose Jones (RJ), Mark Pearce (MP), Chris Hilton (CH), Joe Craen (JC)

Apologies: Mark Connell

Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 22nd July were read, approved and signed by the Chairman. HPC – Simon has not yet had a response to his letter.
Entrance – Brendan has confirmed that the planning permission is still valid. They will be contacting John Martin and will discuss the works at the September meeting.
Accident – Another plot-holder has slipped by the gate. Mark P offered to take responsibility for recording accidents and will look into whether or not an actual accident book is needed. Catherine Gill will be informed once details of any incident has been reported.
Chippings – Alan has tried to contact Countryside Management but has not been able to speak to anyone. Jane will talk to Colin Hutchinson and try to find out more about what was on offer.
Risk Assessments – Simon is still working on these.
First aid – Mark P has been in touch with Catherine Gill about the first aid course, but as yet discussions are still ongoing.
Improvement Plan – The draft Improvement Plan will be emailed to all plot-holders and Parish Councillors inviting feedback by Friday 18th September. A consultation meeting will then be arranged for all plot-holders and Parish Councillors to take the Plan further. MPJGSEJG

815.4 Finance Report.
The balance on 13th August was £1,220.33.Income - £10.00 was received from plant sales, £20.00 from netting sales and £39.00 from new rents. Expenditure - £44.50 for postage, stationary, First Aid box + sign and gift for the auditor. Mark Connell had sent Karen details of Staffordshire Borough Council’s Small Capital Grant Scheme through which we could apply for match-funding for items of equipment such as the composting area or wheelbarrows. It was agreed that we look into this further. We have still not had an invoice from the PC for the water. Jane will email Catherine. Karen will contact Geoff about the chicken manure and will follow up the query with NSALG. MCKAJGKA

815.5 Plot Inspection.
The plot inspection was very positive - nearly all the plots are being well looked after and are very productive. The committee agreed to award a £10.00 garden voucher to Sean and Daphne Watkins and highly commended certificates to Ron Richardson, Frank Shelley and Diane and Alwyn Davies. Hayden Jones will produce the certificates. Jane will send letters to five plot-holders whose allotments have been rather neglected, asking that the plots be cleared or covered to prevent the spread of weeds. There are a few trees which are growing quite rapidly. A reminder about winter pruning will be sent out later in the year to all plot-holders. Many of the paths are in a bad state. This will be discussed with the PC at a later date. JG

815.6 Composting Area. (See also 815.4)
Alan has drawn up a plan of a possible composting area. This could be sited in the present position, on one of the plots or where the derelict building stands and linked with a new building. Karen will find out if the Small Capital Grant Scheme is on-going and whether we could apply next year when other issues with the building have become more clear. KA

815.7 Welcome sign.
It was agreed that the sign only needs the name and logo, plus the website address and link to the Face Book page. Two signs will be needed, for both sides of the gate. Any artistic plot-holders will be asked to volunteer to help design the sign. JGMP

815.8 Weed suppression.
Prices from a variety of sources were compared. It was agreed to go with Burtons who could supply 25m x 4m Visqueen for £48.00 (incl. VAT). JG

815.9 Improvement Plan.
Many aspects of the Improvement Plan had been covered in the meeting which showed that it was already working well. Some items were discussed: Year planner – Chris offered to produce a month by month guide for plot-holders.
Welcome pack/fact sheets – Karen would bring some ideas to the next meeting.
Newsletter – Mark P offered to produce a monthly newsletter. Jane would email Mark items from the committee meeting to be included and Simon would be responsible for any printing.
Calendar – It is too late to produce a calendar for next year but it is something to bear in mind for future fundraising.Social event – Some sort of social event would be held for plot-holders before the end of the year.
Rail crash memorial – The 50th anniversary will be in January 2018 and this would be an appropriate time to establish a memorial. It would be good to involve the History Society and possibly Malcolm Garner in the event. CHKAMPJG

815.10 AOB.
Face Book – The old FB page will be deleted, but plot-holders and the PC will be invited to ‘like’ the page and join.
Bees – Mark P had spoken to a bee expert who did not recommend bee hives on allotments. Bees are apparently attracted to perspiration and so could become a nuisance to sweaty diggers! 

Next meeting: Tuesday 29th September at 7.30pm in the Bank House. (6th October)

Wellington Fields Allotment Committee
Minutes of the Committee/Improvement Plan meeting held at
7.00pm on Wednesday 22nd July
at The Bank House

Present: Simon Ellin (SE) (Chair), Karen Appleton, (KA) (Treasurer), Jane Garner (JG) (Secretary), Alan Hartley (AH), Rose Jones (RJ), Mark Pearce (MP), Chris Hilton (CH), Barry Williams (BW), Joe Craen (JC)

Apologies: Mark Connell. A representative from the PC was invited to the Improvement Plan meeting but did not attend.

715.3 Minutes of previous meetings.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 13th May were read, approved and signed by the Chairman. Simon was pleased with the turn-out for the AGM on 15th June and with the many positive suggestions for the Improvement Plan.A vote at the AGM changed the administration/contingency charges which had been agreed at the committee meeting on 3rd June, to reflect the size of the plot. Rent for a full plot will increase from £108.00 to £128.00, rent for a half plot will increase from £60.00 to £64.00 and rent for a quarter plot will decrease from £36.00 to £32.00.Jane will add a note referring to the above to the previous minutes and Alan will add them to the web-site, along with draft minutes of the AGM. Simon and Karen will email copies of their AGM reports to Alan for inclusion. JGAHSEKA

715.4 Response to HPC letter.
The committee stated that they totally supported Simon in his efforts to resolve the situation with HPC and agreed with the wording of his response to the recent letter. This would be sent in the hope that a line might be drawn under past disagreements and a resolution be found in partnership with HPC. 

715.5 Welcome sign.
It was agreed that a ‘Welcome to Wellington Fields Allotments’ sign was a good idea but there was discussion about the wording. Links to the website and the new Facebook page could be included. The committee will send possible wording to Jane and this will be discussed at the next meeting. 

715.6 Empty plots.
The weeds on the empty plot have been strimmed and have been piled up, waiting for an empty compost bay. The plot now needs covering. Jane will investigate the cost of weed-suppressing material from the NSALG.Alan reported that one of the compost bays was now ready but that he couldn’t empty it until the last compost had been used. Jane will email plot-holders to let them know that it can be taken.One plot-holder has emailed to say that as he is unwell he will be unable to do much work on his plot until later in the year. Mark P has been keeping an eye on the plot and will have a look to see if the committee can do anything more to help. JGMP

715.7 Closing times for cars.
Jane has had a conversation with John Martin about the 8.00pm limit on cars accessing the allotments. John said that while the bungalow remains empty he has no objection to people driving to the allotments during day-light hours. 

715.8 Improvement Plan. (SeeLink)
Chris introduced his draft Improvement Plan which once approved, would be up-dated annually. There had been lots of suggestions from plot-holders at the AGM and these have been included. The Plan has been divided into six sections:
1. Premises and allotment environment. Building - The committee will find out what John Martin has in mind for the existing building and will then investigate possibilities and funding. Composting area – Alan has drawn up some plans for revamping the composting area and these will be discussed at the next meeting. Driveway – This is a H & S issue and a priority for completion this year. Jane will email the PC to see if there has been any progress since the PC meeting on 7th July. Biodiversity – A site survey will look at opportunities to attract increased numbers of bees and other pollinators. Bark chippings – Alan will investigate the possibility of some bark chippings from Alan Stevens (Countryside Training and Tree Management)
2. Finance. There will be an annual review of rents. External sources of funding will be investigated for specific projects. Social/fundraising events will be planned.
3. Health and safety. Risk assessments and training – RAs will written and training given for use of certain types of equipment e.g. the strimmer. (SE to lead) First Aid – Training possibly through HPC later in the year. (MP to lead) Supportive plot checks – One check each year during the summer, to support plot-holders who might be experiencing difficulties. Watering rota – If plot-holders let the committee know that they are going away, a watering rota will be drawn up. Jane will email plot-holders to let them know.
4. Communication and partnership working. Links with HPC – Regular meetings to establish joint working. Links with other groups – e.g. Haywoods Allotments and Produce Guild.Facebook – Establish a Facebook group and possibly Twitter account.
5. Advice and guidance. Fact sheet/induction sheet/annual planner – Alan to lead. Plot-holder information – Committee members details on notice board together with details of meetings etc.
6. Social and fundraising To include and Open Day, Quiz, talks from experts, competitions. Simon thanked Chris for all his work on the Plan. Chris will amend the Plan to include the discussions and the draft will then be sent to plot-holders as a consultation document. JGAHSEMPJGAH

715.9 AOB.
Memorial Garden - Joe Craen suggested the idea of a memorial garden for the victims of the Hixon rail crash. The committee felt that this would be a very worthwhile project which will added to the Improvement Plan and explored further at future meetings. Constitution - The Constitution is still in draft form. The committee discussed the draft and agreed to accept this as the Constitution for Wellington Fields Allotments. 

Next meeting: Wednesday 19th August at 7.00pm at the allotments (plot inspection), followed by a committee meeting at the Bank House

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