Hixon Allotments Association

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Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Tuesday 26th June 2018
at The Granary, Egg Lane.

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Karen Appleton, Barry Williams, Chris Hilton.

6.18.1 Apologies: Rose Jones, Mark Connell 

6.18.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 24th April 2018 were approved by the committee and signed by the Chairman.
Weed-killing – The weedkilling has not yet been done but it doesn't really seem necessary at the moment especially as it has been so dry. Simon offered to strim and tidy up the main access path.
Memorial Garden – The Memorial Garden is establishing well, but will need regular maintenance. Members of the Memorial committee/WFA committee have offered to weed the garden on a regular basis and a rota has been drawn up. At a recent meeting of the committee it was agreed that the money remain in the allotment account, at least for the time being, as members of WFA are working on the up-keep of the garden. The Highways have agreed to a stone plinth and plaque being sited near the bridge. Quotes for this are being obtained.
Vacant plots – There is only one vacant plot at present, but this needs a great deal of work.
Covers – Plot 10L was covered at a recent working party but has now been taken. Chris will ask the tenant where the fabric now is, so it can be used on other plots.
Asbestos – At last year's AGM, here was a reminder about disposing of the small pieces of asbestos safely, using the PC dustbin at the bottom of the site. The asbestos already collected in the bin has been removed by the PC and notices have been put up reminding people of the correct procedures for dealing with it.
Question Time – A date will be found for the Autumn.
Working party – The recent working party did general tidying of the site and established a wildflower garden on the site of the old RAF building.
BBQ – There will be a working party on September 8th, starting at 9.00am and followed by a BBQ at 2.00pm.Notice board – The notices have now been re-done and information on composting has been sited by the compost bays. CHJG

6.18.3 Financial report.
The account balance was £4,165.25 on 13th June, but after the rent and other expenses have been included there will be almost £1,900.00 available for projects. Simon offered to go through the figures with Karen before the AGM, but it was suggested that the rents remain the same for the coming year. Karen will send the names of plot holders to the NSALG. Three people have not signed and returned their GDPR forms and the two new tenants have not yet had one so Jane will send reminders and new forms KAJG

6.18.4 Tenancy agreements.
There are still two agreements outstanding as the two tenants are waiting for the PC's solicitor to approve the agreement. However the committee believes that the tenancy agreement is a contract only between WFA and its members and therefore does not need outside approval. 

6.18.5 AGM.
This will be held on 20th July at 7.30 in the Memorial Hall. It was agreed that the rents be frozen for a further 12 months. Jane will email all the members with the agenda, letting them know that this meeting will give them the opportunity to agree the rents for the coming year and to see and understand how the rents are calculated and the money spent. The members will be asked for suggestions for the development plan and any other issues for discussion. JG

6.18.6 Vacant plot.
It was suggested that the vacant plot could be used communally with a poly tunnel installed and areas rented out to plot holders. Other parts of the plot could be paved and used to store woodchip and compost. The idea will be discussed at the AGM to gauge interest. One plot has been neglected and is now very overgrown. Jane will write to the tenant asking if they would like the weeds to be strimmed so that they can cover it, or if they rather give it up as another plot holder might be interested in taking it on. At present there are three people who have expressed an interest in taking on a plot and they are now on a waiting list. 

6.18.7 Site maintenance.
Compost – A non-plot holder would like to use some of the compost which has been taken away by John, if it's available. Jane will contact John. HPC grass cuttings – Mick Kelly has asked if the contractor might be able to put the grass cuttings from the open spaces in the village into the compost bays. This was agreed in principle, but needs further discussion.
Wildflower area – The wildflower area is coming on well but badly needs watering. Nigel is happy to do it but it would be much easier with a hosepipe. This was agreed. There is an old bath on the empty plot and it would be good to use this as a small pond to encourage amphibians. It could be moved at the next working party and sited down by the bottom tap.
Plastics – A great deal of plastic waste is accumulating on and around the allotments, and on windy days this blows about and often ends up on John's fields. At the AGM people will be asked to take more care with plastics and remove any rubbish from the site, in consideration of the environment and other plot holders. A reminder will also be given to ensure that all trees are kept to a reasonable height and that only environmentally friendly slug pellets are used. 

6.18.8 NSALG membership.
The annual membership fee has just been paid, but we will investigate alternatives for next year as we don't seem to get much for the money and they have not been particularly helpful when asked for advice. 

6.18.9 AOB.
Quiz – Simon will give the Bank House some possible dates.
Cattle trough – One plot holder has enquired about installing extra taps. This was not felt to be feasible, but it was suggested that a cattle trough system might be quicker and easier for filling watering cans, as people could quickly scoop up water rather than waiting to fill from a tap. Jane will ask John's advice and will find a price.
Woodchip – Someone has asked about more woodchip. Alan will try to contact the supplier, but woodchip is often better later in the year when not full of leaves. 

Next meeting: 7.00pm on 20th July in the Memorial Hall, followed by the AGM at 7.30

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on 24th April 2018
Present: Simon Ellin, Chris Hilton, Barry Williams, Alan Hartley, Karen Appleton, Rose Jones , Mark Connell.

1. Apologies Jane Garner.

2. Previous minutes & matters arising.
It was confirmed that the weed killing on communal paths, planned for late last year did not take place. As we are now into the growing season it is assumed that this will now take place at the end of the current year.
SE along with the Committee wanted to thank all involved in the Rail Crash Memorial event which was a tremendous success. Special thanks go to Jo Craen, Tim and Malcolm in making the commemoration run so smoothly.
CH reported that any surplus funds that were raised to finance the commemoration event and memorial garden would be handed over to the Church and used as a maintenance fund. It was agreed that the item would be raised annually at a WFAA meeting to ensure that there were no issues around maintenance, or whether a clean-up would be required.
MC gave a short update as to further actions. A meeting had been held with Highways to confirm that an additional stone plinth could be erected on New Road adjacent the highway at the start of the bridge embankment. This had now been agreed and Tim is following up with Hixon Parish Council to seek confirmation that this memorial stone can be covered by their insurance policy. Once agreed the new plinth can be made and erected.
MC confirmed that a commemorative booklet was to be produced by Malcolm using photographs taken on the day and elements of the historical data.

3. Vacant plots.
KA reported that there are currently two vacant plots. (8L & 30R). HPC had previously agreed (5th July 2017) to 6 plots being available to named parishes. Currently Fradswell is not included on this list and HPC are suggesting that a plot cannot currently be let to a member of Fradswell Parish until the Tenancy Agreement is finalised. 
Similarly, it was confirmed by SE that there is no requirement by HPC to hold back 3 plots for Hixon residents outside of Hixon. Further promotion would be considered to encourage further take up.
This item incorporated an update on finances. As at the 14th of March the WFAA account held £2,195 in its account. Last year the outgoings totaled £2,054 and this years forecast spend in currently £2,116. (However last year’s expenditure included vacant plot covers and work to the strimmer which are unlikely to be items of expenditure this year.)
However, should any shortfall result this year it was agreed that this would be made up from the ring-fenced fund.
Confirm any action around the Fradswell issue.
Covers to be recovered from plots that are now occupied and used on the two vacant plots.
CE to promote the Allotments facility on the Gayton and Weston Facebook pages.

4. Rent Update.
One tenant still has an outstanding balance on their fees from 2017/18 and needs to be resolved otherwise a precedent will be set and other tenants could request a similar discount. It was agreed that an EGM will be held to ratify the 2017/18 rental figures and in so doing rectify the non-payment issue.
Any non payment following the ratification of rents will lead to a breach in the terms of the tenancy, ultimately leading to eviction.
An EGM to be held at 7.00 on the 11th of May
SE to draft an email to tenants informing them of the EGM.

5. Tenancy Agreement up date.
HPC have commented on the tenancy agreement, from these suggestions only one valid point has been raised that relates to the Asbestos Disposal points. However, it is considered that this issue can be highlighted and better managed by on site information rather that being built into the tenancy agreement.
To date two tenancy agreements for 2018/19 remain outstanding.
Site Notices regarding the Asbestos disposal points to be included in the notice board information update, see item 9.

6. New GDPR regulations.
Discussion took place as to how the forthcoming GDPR (data protection) legislation could impact on the Association. SE confirmed that he had contacted NSALG for guidance, however their records showed that this years subscription was outstanding and as a result the guidance, which was held on their website, couldn’t be accessed.
KA to follow up with the NSALG subscription, as our records showed payment was made.
KA to follow up on the GDPR guidance and produce a short statement outlining any action to be taken by the Association in light of this.

7. 2018 social events.
It was agreed that a quiz was overdue. Tuesday evenings in the Bankhouse appeared to be the favoured day so this would be followed up and a date set.
An event at the Allotments was also discussed, resulting in a planned BBQ for Saturday the 8th of September.
JG was tasked with setting a date for a Gardeners Question time event, potentially including the produce guild from Stowe.
KA to confirma date with the Bankhouse for the planned Quiz.
JG to confirm potential dates for the Question time event.

8. Site maintenance.
With regard to the ring-fenced monies being held by HPC, a full breakdown of expenditure is to be requested.
At present the only issue was that one of the taps close to KA’s plot wasn’t working RJ to progress its repair.

It was agreed that a general repairs working party would be arranged for the morning of the 8th September, prior to the BBQ, time to be confirmed.

9. Tenant communications.
RJ suggested that November would be a good time to contact plot holders, after the growing season to get them thinking about the next year and whether they wish to continue with their plots. This communication would also highlight the dates by which forthcoming invoices would be issues.
SE highlighted that the notice-board content was now becoming illegible and that the information needed to be replaced/ updated.
A communication to tenants timetabled for November 2018 - JG.
KA to refresh the site notice board.

10. Refund.
One plot holder has informed the Association that they no longer wish to occupy their allotment since paying this years rent. (This vacancy is included in the vacant plots referred to above).
It was agreed that a refund of the full £36 would be awarded once the plot is cleared by the current tenant.

11. Village Clean up.
SE thanked members of the Committee who were able to take part in the village clean up operation and the Committees thanks went out to Simon for organising and coordination the event.

12. AOB.
A questionnaire had been received from Stafford Borough Council one of which is to be completed by the Association and then tenants are also invited to submit a response. 
JG to circulate the questionnaire to tenants and work with KA to complete the Associations response.

13. Date of next meeting.
To be confirmed by the 11th of May at the EGM.

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Thursday 4th January 2018 at the Ridgeway.

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Mark Connell, Karen Appleton, Barry Williams, Chris Hilton.

1.18.1 Apologies:
Rose Jones (Joe Craen has resigned from the committee) 

1.18.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 31st October 2017 were approved by the committee and signed by the Chairman.
Weed-killing – The weed-killing has not been done and will now have to wait until the weeds are actively growing. 

1.18.3 Financial report.
There has been no activity since the last meeting, but donations towards the Memorial now total £975.00. 

1.18.4 Rail Crash Memorial.
Everything is now in place for the weekend. The exhibition will be set up on Friday. People will meet at the church at 12.00pm and Malcolm will say a few words about the accident and will introduce Janet Hopkins who has agreed to unveil the memorial. There will be several relatives and people who were involved in the rescue attending and they have been invited to a buffet in the Hall after the unveiling. Karen, Mark and Jane are organising the refreshments. Malcolm will give his talk at 2.15pm and the exhibition will be open again on Sunday from 11.00am until 3.00pm.Any money left will be used for on-going maintenance. 

1.18.5 Payment dispute.
The full rent has still not been paid. The committee discussed making a formal complaint regarding the dispute and other previous issues, to the Monitoring Officer. This was brought to a vote and passed with one abstention. 

1.18.6 New Tenancy Agreements.
Simon and Mark met members of the PC to discuss the new agreement. A few changes were discussed and agreed. Simon has checked the agreement with NSALG's solicitor and also confirmed that there will be no Stamp Duty. The rules are now attached to the agreement as an appendix and we need to check that the rules have all been approved and are in the constitution. The new agreements will then be delivered to each tenant with an addressed envelope for return. 

1.18.7 Waiting list.
At present there are no vacant plots and one person on the waiting list. 

1.18.8 AOB.

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Tuesday 31st October 2017 in the Bank House

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Mark Connell, Karen Appleton, Rose Jones Joe Craen

10.17.1 Apologies:
Chris Hilton, Barry Williams 

10.17.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 29th August 2017 were approved by the committee and signed by the Chairman.
Weedkilling – This should have been done a couple of weeks ago, but it was far too wet.
Hedge - The hedge by the gate needs trimming because it is now difficult to hold the gate back. 

10.17.3 Financial report.
Account balance - £2,053.89 (13th October 2017) which includes donations towards the rail disaster memorial. £248.00 has been paid from this for the two brass plaques. It had been suggested that a separate account be set up for the Memorial Fund, as there will be money left over which will be needed for on-going maintenance. However, this is proving to be very complicated and will be discussed at the next Memorial meeting (9th November). Income from new tenants will be put into a contingency fund, as discussed at the AGM. 

10.17.4 Rail Crash Memorial.
The plaques have been delivered and one has been taken to the stonemasons. The stone and plaque will be installed in the week after Christmas. The company who manage the bridge (Amey) have refused permission for the plaque to be fixed to the structure of the bridge. Mark has been in touch with the Councy Councillor who will contact Amey and discuss the issue. Joe has also found an adhesive which could be used to secure the plaque to the bridge, without affecting the structure. NARPO have been contacted and 5 people who were involved with the incident have been in touch. They will be invited to the unveiling. Joe has written an article for the next Compass. Posters will be put in the church before Christmas, and around the village in the days before the event. The Bank House have agreed to provide a buffet and Joe is waiting for a price. He is also hoping to get a reduction in the price of a room at the Dog and Doublet for Janet Hopkins, who has agreed to unveil the plaque. 

10.17.5 Vacant plots and actions.
There are now only three vacant plots and one of these has been reserved by someone for February. There are now 3 tenants from Weston. 

10.17.6 New Tenancy Agreements.
Simon has drafted a new tenancy agreement which was discussed and agreed with a few minor changes. He will finalise the draft before taking it to the PC. There was some discussion about Glyphosate which is being withdrawn as a systemic weed killer. Karen agreed to find out more. SE

10.17.7 Composting and rats.
Ian Hughes (Pest Control Officer) has been to the site several times because of the amount of rat activity in and around the compost bays. He says that rats are being attracted by the vegetable matter put into the compost and so Jane will again write to plot holders asking them not to put such items into the compost. There is also rubbish accumulating at the bottom of the site and Jane will ask people to take their rubbish home. She will also speak to John Martin and check that he is still happy to take uncompostable material away. JG

10.17.8 AOB.
Payment dispute –
It was agreed that there will probably have to be an EGM to ratify the charging structure from 2015/6, but Simon will discuss the issue with the Parish Councillors when he presents the new tenancy agreement. This will now have to be in December as he is away for most of November. Simon will contact the Councillors to agree a date. SE

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