Hixon Allotments Association

Latest News.

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Tuesday 17th September 2019 in the Bank House

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Karen Appleton, Mark Connell, Suzanne O'Farrell, Barry Williams, Nick Brookes.

9.19.1 Apologies: Chris Hilton .

9.19.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 23rd July 2019 were approved by the committee and signed by the chairman.
The decision about the ring-fenced money from new tenants being used to subsidise rents was changed at the A.G.M. It will now accumulate until it reaches 350.00.
There has been no communication from the PC about a liaison officer.
The decision about the N.S.A.L.G. is ongoing.

9.19.3 Financial report. (13th August)
The account balance is 2780.14.
The rent and water charges have been paid to the PC.
Simon has receipts for the repair of the strimmer and the purchase of new strimmer blades.
There is no change in the ring-fenced memorial account (69.25).

9.19.4 Compost storage area.
Simon, Mark and Pete Appleton met Brendan at the allotment site and explained the plans for the storage area. Brendan was concerned about the impact the area might have on parking and suggested that it be moved nearer to the hedge. Simon agreed that this was a good idea.
A risk assessment will be drawn up for the construction and the site will be closed to plot holders while it is completed.
Brendan thought that the insurance and planning issues should be sorted by the end of the week and so the construction can then go ahead.
Simon thanked Pete for his work on the plans and for giving up his time for the meeting.
Barry has a contact who owns a mini-digger. He is willing to do the groundwork for 60.00.
Duncan Lowe has a generator which could power a cement mixer.
Brendan discussed the recent Asset Check by members of the PC with Simon and said that the PC are planning to put boards along the left hand side of the access path.

9.19.5 Composting guidelines.
It was felt that a composting talk would be helpful and a leaflet of suggestions could then be printed and possibly hand-delivered to all plot holders.

9.19.6 Uncultivated/untidy plots.
Jane will write to the following plot-holders reminding them of the first rule in the tenancy agreement and saying that unless the plots are cultivated and tidied the plot holders will not be invoiced next February and their tenancies will end.
Mark Grimes' plot has been covered, but he has not yet cultivated it. The blue plastic cover is now starting to break down and pieces of it are being blown around the site.
Lis Herd has been unwell, but her plot has been left, is uncovered and weeds are spreading to neighbouring plots.
Suzanne Burt's plot was worked on earlier in the year, but is now covered in weeds which are spreading.

9.19.7 Barbecue and Quiz
Yet again, circumstances have overtaken the planning for these events and so the barbecue will be re-scheduled to a date earlier in the summer next year and the quiz will be postponed until January.

9.19.8 Offer of slabs
We have had an offer of 100 paving slabs and it was agreed that these would be very useful for plot holders. Jane will try to arrange transport and Nick and Mark offered to help with the lifting.

9.19.9 A.O.B.
Tenancy agreements The plot holder who has not yet signed the agreement has agreed to do so. Jane will send them a new copy.
Seed orders Jane will remind plot holders that copies of the seed catalogues are in Karen's shed. All orders must be back to Karen by 18th October.
Newsletter Suggestions for the newsletter were given to Alan.
Water trough Simon thanked Barry for installing the water trough by the middle tap. If it is successful we will plan to install more.
Wildflower area It is hoped to create a wildflower area next year by the bottom tap and possibly a small storage shed.

Next Meeting December.

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Tuesday 23rd July 2019 in the Bank House

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Chris Hilton, Karen Appleton, Mark Connell, Suzanne O'Farrell, Barry Williams

Treasurer's Report Karen will report that there has been an increase of 3% in the rent charged by the PC, in line with the RPI. This year the rent is 1,460.11 (last year it was 1,417.68). The water charges have increased from 115.00 last year to 317.68, due to the dry period last summer.
There was discussion as to whether to use some of the ring-fenced money to subsidise the rents, but it was agreed to increase the rents slightly to ensure that the amount paid was a true reflection of the costs.
Karen will explain this at the AGM. The ring-fenced money will therefore be left to accumulate to a total of 350.00, unless it is needed to cover the costs of empty plots.
Chairman's report - Simon has checked the rules and will make it clear to the meeting that plots must be worked and kept tidy. After the AGM letters will be sent to plot holders who are not cultivating their plots.
Simon will report that 2 tenants have still not signed their tenancy agreements, even though the PC solicitor has said that the agreements are fit for purpose. Simon will speak to the people concerned, saying that new agreements will be issued to them next February and that they will have to be signed or relinquish their plots.
Secretary's report Jane will report on the day to day running of the allotments, including the waiting list, composting, plastic, rats and memorial garden.

7.19.1 Apologies: Nick Brookes, Rose Jones

7.19.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 25th June 2019 were approved by the committee and signed by the chairman.

7.19.3 Financial report.
This is not needed because of the imminent AGM, but the current balance is 2,708.14.

7.19.4 Compost storage area.
The metal struts have been painted.
The PC want to check with Stafford Borough Council in case planning permission is needed. They also want a structural engineer to check that the proposed structure is safe, given the use of concrete. The committee were supportive of these proposals but Simon will contact them to mitigate against delay and request a timescale.

7.19.5 PC Liaison officer.
The committee welcomed the appointment of a PC liaison officer, and would invite them to outline their priorities and hopes for the allotments. However, they agreed that the person appointed should be neutral and objective and that impartiality would be paramount. A previous plot holder with a history of conflict, might not be the most suitable or appropriate person.

7.19.6 Speaker.
Chris has found a possible speaker who will talk about composting. He will contact him to find some possible dates. CH

7.19.7 NSALG or SWCAA?
Chris has compared the two organisations and what they have to offer.He will contact the SWCAA to see what discount schemes they might offer, or if they might negotiate on price. As things stand, joining SWCAA would mean a 2.00 increase for each plot holder, but they seem to offer more advice and seem more helpful and up to date than NSALG. We will pursue this further. CH.

7.19.8 AOB.
Barbecue Jane will invite plot holders to Wellington Fields' inaugural barbecue on 27th September. JG

Next meeting: AGM on Friday 2nd August 2019 in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm, with a pre-meeting at 7.00.

Wellington Fields Allotments Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Tuesday 25th June 2019 in the Bank House.

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Chris Hilton, Karen Appleton, Nick Brookes, Rose Jones, Mark Connell.

6.19.1 Apologies:
Barry Williams, Suzanne O'Farrell.

6.19.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 27th March 2019 were approved by the committee and signed by the chairman.
Memorial Garden Simon thanked Joe for all his work regarding the Memorial Garden.

6.19.3 Financial report.
The account balance was 4,470.24 on 13th June.
The amount to be paid in rent is approximately 1,800.
The Quiz made 145.00 and we are still holding 69.25 from the Memorial Garden.
Karen has bought a present for the accountant.
The strimmer has broken again and is back at Buxtons for a quote for repair. Depending on the quote it might be better to buy a new one which would be more reliable.

6.19.4 Vacant plots/waiting list.
There are no vacant plots and three people are on the waiting list. One plot is covered and has not been worked for more than 12 months. Jane will write to the plot-holder asking if he wants to continue. JG

6.19.5 Tenancy agreement update.
The PC solicitor has found the revised Tenancy Agreement to be fit for purpose. There are still two agreements unsigned and those tenants are therefore technically without a contract, but having paid the rent, the implication is that they have accepted the terms of the Agreement.

6.19.6 Site maintenance.
Compost storage area - In discussion with John Martin, plans for the storage area have been drawn up, together with costings. John has supplied some concrete plinths, sleepers and steel beams. It is estimated that the materials will cost approximately 995.
The steel will need painting with Hammerite and Chris has offered to do this in advance of the construction.
The storage area will not exceed the footprint of the old building so it will not have any impact on parking.
Simon asked for his thanks to be passed on to Pete Appleton for all his work on the plans.
At a recent Parish Council meeting it was mentioned that the project might need planning permission. Mark Connell has looked into this and has found that it should come under permitted development because the structure will not be more than 2.5m high and is not near to the road. Jane will write to Catherine, explaining this, together with a copy of the plans.
Wildlife - A wildlife area could perhaps be established by the bottom tap. If the hedge is cut back it will give a good sized area. We will need to arrange a working party to complete this.
Fruit trees - Jack Martin can obtain some fruit trees for communal use in the village. It was felt that we could perhaps find room for a few at the bottom of the site and that others could be dotted around the village.
Cattle trough - We still need to find a suitable cattle trough to replace a tap.
Compost bins - The compost bins still seem to be multiplying. If they can be matched with a lid they can be taken to Katherine House, otherwise Simon will take them to be recycled.
Fence John has pushed some of the fence to a more upright position, but Jane will ask Catherine for an up-date. CH, JG.

4.19.7 Social/fundraising.
Quiz - The last quiz was very successful and so another one has been planned for 22nd September. As the sound system caused some problems, Simon will test it in advance.
Speakers Chris will try again to find a speaker on composting. Jane will contact Ray Bassett to see if he might do a Gardeners' Question Time evening. SE, CH, JG

4.19.8 N.S.A.L.G.
Simon will look at alternatives to NSALG and Chris will put the issue of whether we need to be affiliated to an organisation to the A.G.M.. Jane will find out whether the N.S.A.L.G. magazine can be accessed online. Karen will have a look at Chiltern Seeds and compare them and the benefits with Kings Seeds. SE, CH, JG, KA

4.19.9 Items for Newsletter.
Quiz (27th September)
Compost storage area
Compost bins to be recycled if no-one needs them
Best plot competition
Barbecue (22nd September) AH.

4.19.10 A.G.M.
This will be held at 7.30 pm on Friday 2nd August in the Memorial Hall, with a brief pre-meeting for the committee at 7.00pm.
Jane will email plot-holders to inform them of the date and to ask for agenda items two weeks before the meeting. An agenda will then be sent out seven days before.
Simon and Karen will meet to sort out rents for 2020/21 JG, KA, SE.

4.19.11 A.O.B.
Memorial Garden Simon and Chris worked on the garden recently and were concerned that it was too shady and that some plants weren't thriving. We will consult Joe and Tim to see if anything can be done.

Next meeting: Tuesday 23rd July in the Bank House, at 7.30 (to discuss the A.G.M.)

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Wednesday 27th March 2019 in the Bank House.

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Chris Hilton, Karen Appleton,
Barry Williams, Suzanne O'Farrell, Nick Brookes

3.19.1 Apologies:
Rose Jones, Mark Connell.

3.19.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 5th December 2018 were approved by the committee and signed by the chairman.
Simon introduced Suzanne and Nick and welcomed them to the meeting.
Cattle troughs An 8' galvanised trough can be bought for about 100.00, but we will have to check that they are deep enough to take a watering can. Chris will find out the measurements of the troughs at Colwich.
Report to Parish Council Simon attended the December meeting and reported on the allotments over the past year.
Glyphosate There seems to be a great deal of conflicting evidence about the use of Glyphosate. Chris offered to do some more research and to contact NSALG for their advice. CH

3.19.3 Financial report.
The account balance was 4,262.24 on 13th March. This includes the money received from rents which will be paid to the Parish Council in May. The accounts are healthy and we can therefore spend some money on the storage area and possibly a shed.
40.00 from the memorial fund was spent on a wreath for 6th January, leaving 69.25 in the fund.

3.19.4 Vacant plots/waiting list.
There are no vacant plots and two people are on the waiting list.

3.19.5 Tenancy agreement update.
There are still two agreements as yet unsigned.

3.19.6 Site maintenance.
John has offered to help with the storage area, but the concrete slabs will need cutting. There will be a meeting at the site on Saturday (30th March) with John, to plan the next moves.
Unsuitable material is still being put into the compost bays. A talk on composting might be useful.
The woodchip has been used so Alan will ask for some more.

3.19.7 Social/fundraising.
There will be another quiz in the Bank House on Sunday 12th May. Entry will be 2.00 per person and there will be a raffle. Jane will email plot holders to let them know the date and ask for raffle prizes.
Jane has found a speaker who gives talks on composting, but Chris has also heard of some speakers who are both entertaining and informative, so he will find out more. JG. CH.

3.19.8 Memorial Garden rota.
Joe has sent out a new rota for the upkeep of the Memorial Garden. At present it seems to need very little maintenance.

3.19.9 NSALG
It is still difficult to know whether the NSALG subscriptions offer value for money. Simon will contact NSALG to discuss the benefits. Chris will find out whether Colwich allotments are affiliated to any organisation or if they manage without. SE.CH

3.19.10 AOB
Church fete This will be held on May 4th and they have asked if plotholders would donate any spare plants for the plant stall. Jane will contact the organisers for further details nearer the time.
Village spring clean This will be on the weekend of 13th/14th April and Nigel has asked for volunteers. He will send more details later.
Compost bins There are several compost bins at the bottom of the site. Jane will email plotholders saying that they are spare and can be used. If no-one wants them they will be disposed of.
Plastic There is still a large amount of plastic waste around the site which blows onto the neighbouring fields. Plotholders will be reminded again to take any that they find home.

Next meeting: Tuesday 30th April in the Bank House, at 7.30. (An informal meeting to prepare for the Quiz)

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Wednesday 5th December 2018 at The Granary, Egg Lane

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Chris Hilton, Karen Appleton, Mark Connell + Mick Kelly from PC.

12.18.1 Apologies:
Barry Williams, Rose Jones.

12.18.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 26th September 2018 were approved by the committee and signed by the chairman.
Memorial stone The new stone is now in place near to the bridge and the site of the accident. It is now insured by the PC.
NSALG We still need to look at possible alternatives to the NSALG.
Cattle troughs Chris has been to look at the cattle troughs on Haywood allotments. They are made of zinc and are about 5 feet long. We will look at prices (e.g. Wynnstay, Burtons, Carwarden?) and sizes.
Quiz There was little response to the proposed quiz, so we will try to arrange another one in the pub, in January. Karen will speak to the Bank House with a possible date of 27th January.
New committee members Jane will write to Nick Brookes who seemed quite interested. Carole Lawrence will also be approached. All, JG, KA, JG.

12.18.3 Financial report.
The account balance was 2,625.24 on 13th November, but the new memorial stone has now been paid for. There is now only 109.25 held from the memorial fund and some of this this will be used to buy a wreath which will be laid on 6th January next year. Money will also be needed to replace plants as time goes on.
Alan has donated the money to pay for the domain name for the next 3 years. Simon thanked Alan for his generosity.
We need to talk to John Martin about payment for the concrete slabs for the storage area. We also need to find out how to cut them to size.
It is still hoped to purchase a storage shed. SE.

12.18.4 Vacant plots/waiting list.
There are at present no vacant plots, but also no-one is on the waiting list. It is hoped to install some cold frames on the small plot at the bottom of the site (31/32R), but Michelle Ellin will take on whatever is left.

12.18.5 PC items (Mick Kelly)
Annual report - Mick reminded Simon of the annual allotment report to the PC. Simon is more than happy to report to the next meeting but asked that Catherine send him a formal invitation.
Invoicing Some members of the PC feel that the invoices should show all the details of the components of the rent. It was agreed that this can make the invoices very confusing and so just basic information about the rents will be shown on the individual invoices. However, a full breakdown of all the costs will be presented at the AGM and the extra details will be posted on the website and the notice board. Karen will send the breakdown to Alan. SE, KA.

12.18.6 Tenancy agreement update.
Simon has tweaked the revised Tenancy Agreement to incorporate The GDPR as an appendix, and so any new tenants will, by signing, accept the WFA GDPR policy. SE.

12.18.7 GDPR update.
There are still 3 forms outstanding, (Simon Cull, Mark Trickett, Adrian Smallwood). Jane and Simon will talk to those concerned when they next see them. SE, JG.

12.18.8 Site maintenance.
Neglected plots - After the plot inspection, letters were sent to Andy Teague, Brendan McKeown and Michelle Jordan-Davis. Andy apologised and said that he and his father-in-law hoped to get on top of things by the end of the year, but a new baby had arrived and he is rather busy. Brendan also said that he would sort the plot before the new year but Michelle said that she could no longer maintain her allotment because of a bad back. New tenants have now been found for this plot.
Fence posts John has managed to straighten some of the posts which were leaning.
Compost bays The retaining boards on the compost bays are beginning to disintegrate.
Woodchip Alan will try to order some more as it is being used quite quickly.

12.18.9 Social/fundraising.
It is hoped to have a quiz in the Bank House in January.
Jane has found a speaker who is willing to come and talk about different aspects of composting. She is waiting to hear back from him. JG.

12.18.10 Manure.
Jane has spoken to the wife of the manure man and they are quite happy to keep delivering, but her husband has recently had an operation and so has been unable to fill the bags. They will bring some more as soon as possible and don't need contributions towards the cost of the bags.

12.18.11 Invoicing.
The invoices will be sent out in January, one month before the rent is due.
As agreed at the AGM, the rents have been frozen for another year.

12.18.12 AOB
Memorial rota Joe has sent everyone a continuation of the rota for the next few months, but it's unlikely that anything will need doing now until the spring. We could possibly put some spring flowers around the new memorial. A wreath will be laid on 6th January and this will be paid for from the fund.
Newsletter Alan has offered to produce the next newsletter and he would like ideas for items for inclusion.
Water The water needs to be turned off before the bad weather. Karen will talk to Alan.
Glyphosate There is plenty of research but it's difficult to interpret. We will look at it more carefully over the next few months and it will be discussed at the AGM, along with organic slug pellets etc. KA,AH.

Next meeting: TBC but before the Quiz (27th January)

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

Present: Simon Ellin (delayed), Jane Garner, Alan Hartley, Chris Hilton, Karen Appleton

9.18.1 Apologies: 
Barry Williams, Rose Jones, Mark Connell 

9.18.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 26th June 2018 were approved by the committee and signed by Chris.
Memorial Garden
A memorial, which will be sited near the scene of the accident has been ordered and the PC have agreed to insure it as it will be near to the road. This will use most of the ring-fenced memorial money, leaving only a small amount in the WFA account.
BBQ The barbecue didn't take place for a variety of reasons, but a working party was held on 15th September and the overgrown plot was cleared.
NSALG The committee were not sure that the NSALG subscriptions provided value for money. We will therefore look into other possibilities before next year's AGM.
Cattle troughs The committee looked at examples of different troughs which could be used to replace the taps. It was difficult to judge from photos, so Chris offered to go and look at the troughs on Colwich Allotments. All CH

9.18.3 Financial report.
The account balance was 2,582.39 on 13th September, but after the ring-fenced rent and memorial fund monies have been taken out there will be 1857.14 available for projects. A site visit was therefore arranged to discuss the possibility of some sort of storage facility for tools etc. and an area for compost, wood chip and manure. This might be a good use of the site of the old RAF building, but it would need a proper base and retaining walls. The wildlife area would then be sited elsewhere. 

9.18.4 Vacant plots/waiting list.
There are at present no vacant plots, but also no-one is on the waiting list.

9.18.5 Tenancy agreement update.
There are still two tenancy agreements outstanding. Simon will write to the tenants concerned. SE

9.18.6 GDPR update.
Simon will add a line to the tenancy agreement relating to GDPR, so that by signing tenants are agreeing to our GDPR process. Jane will send the existing GDPR form to the new tenants. SEJG

9.18.7 Site maintenance.
A plot inspection was held on 23rd September. Most plots seem to have been well looked after, but a few have been very neglected. Jane will write to the tenants. JG

9.18.8 Social/fundraising.
It was agreed that a barbecue would be planned for early summer next year, giving scope for re-scheduling if the weather is against us. This year we will have a Pre-Christmas Feast and Quiz with a provisional date of 30th November. Plot holders will be asked to contribute a plate of food and bring own drinks. There will be a raffle and entry will be 2.00 per person. Jane will arrange a speaker for next spring. JG
9.18.9 New committee members It was agreed that we need new committee members and it is hoped that some of the new tenants might be prepared to join. 

9.18.10 AOB.
Rats There is evidence of some rat activity near to the compost area. Ian (from SBC)has put some bait in the box.
Glyphosate There is now some doubt about the safety of Glyphosate after a recent court ruling in America. Jane offered to look into current research and possible alternatives. JG

Next meeting: Monday 12th November (TBC)

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