Hixon Allotments Association

Latest News.

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on
10th December 2020
(Zoom meeting)

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Barry Williams, Chris Hilton, Suzanne O'Farrell, Mark Connell, Nick Brookes + Joe Craen & John Robson (Memorial Garden) + Pete Appleton (Compost storage area)

12.20.1 Apologies: Alan Hartley, Karen Appleton

12.20.2 Memorial Garden update (Joe Craen and John Robson)
Both gardens are being tended on a regular basis and the rota is working well.
Tim has supplied some more plants for winter colour and he will give the receipt to Karen.
Jean and Joe have added to the plants in the New Road memorial.
Network Rail and CrossCountry Trains have both pledged £3k to the church and village and CrossCountry Trains have also been allowed to divert a further 5k towards the naming of locomotive 220009 'Hixon'.
John Robson from CrossCountry Trains and Adam Checkley from Network Rail are both helping to maintain the Garden and have both been engaged in fundraising. So far £860.00 has been raised from branches of ASLEF.
Other sources of funding and support are being looked into.
Stained glass window project.
Tim is hoping soon to have approval from Lichfield Diocese for the new window in the church, commemorating the rail crash and the RAF base. This will be funded by Network Rail. It is hoped that there will be enough money to provide protection for the window and possibly a shed to store gardening tools.
Locomotive renaming.
The locomotive will be re-named 'Hixon' with '6th January 1968' underneath. The nameplate will be made of aluminium and will be of a traditional design. Three plaques will be made, two for the locomotive and one for the village, possibly to be installed in the Memorial Hall.
The naming ceremony will take place at Stafford Station on Platform 6 and the date will be decided in the spring. Pete Waterman is very keen to be involved and has offered to help with publicity and the media.
Joe has written a letter of thanks to all those involved.
Simon thanked Joe and John for all that they have achieved.
Before Joe left the meeting he expressed his thanks to WFA for all the work on the compost storage area.

12.20.3 Compost storage area. (Pete Appleton)
The storage area is now complete, apart from small sections of cut steel which need to rust before being painted with Hammerite, and a couple of patches needed in the concrete.
Pete has up-dated the drawings to show the final construction and the drainage.
The final costs are £1,096.00.
Simon thanked Pete for all his work on the plans and for managing the construction of the project, and Chris and Barry for all their support. He also thanked Duncan Lowe for lending his generator.
The compost will now be stored in the large section, the chippings in the medium one and the horse manure in the small section.
Jane will contact John to ask if he could move the compost to the storage area at some point and to ask if we could have a bucket back. She will also speak to the manure people to let them know.
Simon asked Barry if he could provide some labels for the different areas. JG. BW

12.20.4 Previous minutes and matters arising. (18th June 2020)
The previous minutes were agreed.
Matters arising are covered in the minutes.

12.20.5 Financial Report.
Account balance (13th November) - £2,996.32.
Pete has been paid £309.42 for storage area expenses and John Martin is owed £600.00 for the concrete slabs etc.
This leaves a balance of £2,083.90.
All rents have been paid to the Parish Council, but payment for the pest control contract will be due shortly.

12.20.6 Rents 2021/22.
It was agreed that the rents will remain the same as last year apart from the RPI increase from the Parish Council and water charges .
The rent freeze will be highlighted to plot holders when the invoices are sent out.

12.20.7 Vacant plots and waiting list.
There are currently no vacant plots and there are 5 people on the waiting list.
Someone has just given up their plot and the new tenant will take over at the beginning of January.

12.20.8 Handbook.
Chris has produced a handbook for new plot holders. The committee suggested a few minor changes but it was agreed that Chris had produced an excellent resource and Simon thanked him for all his work. CH

12.20.9 Plant sale.
Alan has suggested that we hold another plant sale in the spring, but this time we will give plenty of notice so that everyone has the opportunity to grow and contribute items.
The sale could be opened up to the whole village which would be good publicity.
Jane will email plot holders. JG

12.20.10 AOB.
Untidy plots – There are a few rather neglected plots so another inspection will be held at the start of the season, linked to the Risk Assessments.
Troughs – The water will be turned off but the troughs will remain filled to preserve the metal until the spring, when they will be drained and cleaned.
Main gate – The hinges on the gate had begun to drop, but Pete and Chris have managed to repair it.
Car park – There are parts of the car park which need some more hardcore. Jane will ask Catherine if this could be done using some of the ring-fenced money.
Fencing – Some of the posts on the left hand side of the site are starting to lean. Jane will ask John if he would have a look.


Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Thursday 18th June 2020
(Zoom meeting)

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

6.20.1 Apologies: Alan Hartley

6.20.2 Previous minutes (19th February & 6th May) and matters arising.
19th February – Agreed and no matters arising
6th May – Agreed.
Broken slabs – these are still to be removed.
Insurance - Simon is still looking into the issue of trespassers, but he is finding it difficult to get through to anyone in the office.
Incident book – This is now in Karen's shed together with a 'near-misses' sheet.
Mirror - ongoing
Reverse parking – most people now seem to comply with this request. Chris will mention it in the newsletter and will reiterate that people should not park on the main access path. BW

6.20.3 Financial Report.
Account balance (14th June) - £4,771.62.
The Memorial Garden fund remains the same at £119.25.
It was agreed that the new blades and petrol for the strimmer (£45.49) would be taken from the income from the rent as this is a day-to-day expenditure.
The troughs are considered to be improvements and so the money will be taken from fundraising.
The plant sale raised £100.00 and Simon expressed his thanks to Alan.
Karen has paid the NSALG membership fees of £111.00.

6.20.4 Vacant plots.
There are currently no vacant plots and there are 3 people on the waiting list.
Two plots are quite untidy. Jane will write to the plot holders concerned, offering help and support in one case and asking the other to cover the weeds before seeds spread. JG

6 20.5 Risk assessments.
It was suggested that any chemicals (including petrol) should be kept under lock and key or preferably off-site. Chris has added a sentence to the risk assessments to include this.
A plot holder has pointed out that the small wooden ramp up to the compost bay is precarious and unsafe when using a wheelbarrow. The plank has now been removed and Simon has donated a dog ramp to replace it. This has low sides and the underside has been reinforced by Barry. There was some concern that the use of a ramp might encourage people to empty wheelbarrows full of soil and rubbish rather than forking only greenstuff into the compost. It was agreed that the ramp would only be used once the compost bay was Ύ full. Chris will add this to the risk assessments and will mention it in the newsletter.
Chris is working on a handbook for new plot holders, which he will send out for discussion once finished.
It was suggested that new plot holders could be offered a mentor if they would like some help or advice at the start. CH

6.20.6 Plot Inspection.
Simon, Chris and Alan will conduct a plot inspection on Sunday 28th June at 10.00am, bearing in mind the reviewed risk assessments.
Jane will email plot holders to let them know. JG

6.20.7 Water troughs.
There is now a trough at each tap and all the plot holders are delighted as watering is now much quicker and easier. Simon thanked Barry very much for all his work on acquiring and fitting the troughs, which have been a great improvement to the site.
Barry said that they will all be drained and cleaned out at the end of each season and then left empty over the winter.
The taps need looking at as some have small leaks. These will be checked during the plot inspection.
It was suggested that the troughs could benefit from being painted with Hammerite.

6.20.8 Greenhouse.
We have been offered a greenhouse frame. Some of the committee went to look but have decided that it is too big and would take up too much car parking space. It would also need a lot of initial work and then maintenance.
Once the compost storage area is completed we will be able to take stock of the space for parking and will perhaps consider a small storage shed or container.

6.20.9 Linings for compost bays.
The sides of the bays are crumbling and will soon be unfit for purpose. John Martin is looking for something with which to replace them next time the compost is emptied.

6.20.10 Hand washing tap.
A plot holder has enquired about the possibility of a tap for hand washing and drinking water. This was considered, but not felt to be necessary at the moment, especially as we should all be wearing gloves. If hands really need washing, then a small amount of water could be taken from a trough and put into a tub, to be tipped away afterwards.
The water supply is not potable.

6.20.11 Scarecrow competition.
This will be held in the village at the end of July, organised by Hixon Community Association. WFA will provide a prize of £25.00 + a box of produce from the allotments for the Best Recycled Scarecrow.

6.20.12 AOB
Memorial garden – Several branches have been cut from the over-hanging tree, but more work is needed with proper equipment and we are getting quotes. Some of the sets around the garden are loose and need cementing in. We will get in touch with Joe and try to arrange for the work to be done, using some of the retained funds.

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Wednesday 6th May 2020
(Zoom meeting)

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

5.20.1 Apologies: Nick Brookes, Alan Hartley

5.20.2 Health & Safety Policy/Risk Assessments.
Chris has produced some very comprehensive risk assessments for the site together with a Health and Safety policy. They were unanimously agreed with a couple of minor adjustments.
Once finalised they will be sent to all plot holders before a plot inspection is undertaken in the light of COVID 19. It is hoped that this will take place within the next 6 weeks.
It was suggested that there could be monthly campaigns with different themes (e.g. PPE) to draw plot holders' attention to various aspects of H & S.
Simon will ask John to move the concrete slabs to the area of the proposed storage area so that there are more parking spaces.
The provision of covers for the troughs was discussed, but it was agreed not to do anything at present.
There are broken slabs around one of the troughs – Barry agreed to have a look at what can be done.
Nick asked whether our insurance would cover injury to anyone trespassing on the site. Simon will enquire.
Any accidents or near-misses should be reported to a member of the committee and recorded in an Incident Book. Chris will create one which will be kept in Karen's shed, along with the first aid kit, which has just been up-dated.
The exit from the site onto Egg Lane is difficult and would be helped by a mirror. Simon will talk to John to see if one could be placed by the field.
It was suggested that cars should reverse to park, making it much safer when driving off. CH, SE, SE, BW, SE, CH, SE

5.20.3 Financial Report.
Account balance (9th April) - £4,560.62.
The Memorial Garden fund remains the same at £119.25.

5.20.4 Vacant plots.
There are currently no vacant plots and there are 3 people on the waiting list.

5 20.5 Compost storage area.
Because of the Coronavirus situation, the storage area is unlikely to be completed this year.
The sides of the compost bays are gradually disintegrating and will probably need to be replaced next time the compost is turned or the bay emptied.
The blue cover is splitting and beginning to shred. Karen will look at finding a sturdier replacement which doesn't let in light. KA

5.20.6 Liaison officer.
An email was sent to the PC on 26th February, but as yet there has been no response.

5.20.7 Unsigned tenancy agreement.
The issue has been shelved while social distancing remains in place.

2.20.8 AOB.
There have been complaints about the untidiness of a plot. The plot holders concerned have worked it each year and this year have spent a considerable amount of time on it, but as the weeds aren't cleared properly they always come back and spread to neighbouring allotments. There is no proper border to the plot so soil and weeds spill over onto the path and there are items of broken furniture and old plastic sheeting piled up at the end. Committee members will go and have a look and we will then decide whether the situation can wait until the plot inspection or something more immediate needs to be done.


Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Wednesday 19th February 2020
in the Bank House

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Karen Appleton, Barry Williams, Chris Hilton, Nick Brookes, Alan Hartley (+ Pete Appleton to discuss compost storage area)

2.20.1 Apologies: Suzanne O'Farrell, Mark Connell

2.20.2 Quiz. (Sunday 26th January)
The recent quiz was well-attended, went very well and raised £151.40 for WFA funds.

2.20.3 Financial Report.
Account balance (13th December) - £3,832.49
The Memorial Garden funds remain the same at £119.25.
Barry has been paid for the fittings for the water trough and pest control charges have been paid to SBC.

2.20.4 Vacant plots.
There is now only one vacant plot and no-one on the waiting list. This has been put on the PC website and shared with other parishes. Chris will mention this again on Facebook.

2 20.5 Composting talk.
Chris has arranged for Mick Poultney to give a talk on composting on Sunday 26th April at 7.00pm in the Memorial Hall.
This will be a social event to mark the beginning of the growing season and the opening of the new storage area. There will also be a raffle. Chris will design a poster for Facebook and it will be put in the Compass. Other local gardening groups will be invited.

2.20.6 Liaison officer.
The position of a liaison officer was discussed and it was agreed that this would be useful.

2.20.7 Unsigned tenancy agreement.
The unsigned tenancy agreement was discussed.

2.20.8 Wildlife area.
This will be a project which will follow the completion of the storage area. We hope that this would include a water or bog area as well as flowers to attract pollinators.

2.20.9 Risk assessments.
Chris has done a lot of work on reviewing the risk assessments and has drawn up a health and safety policy. He has asked for feedback at the next meeting.

2.20.10 Compost Storage.
The risk assessments and method statements for the construction of the storage area have been completed and will be sent to the PC.
Pete is not sure where the water pipe runs so he will dig a test hole to try to find it before work begins. Chris has offered to help.
It is hoped that the drainage channel can be put where originally planned, but it can be moved a small distance if necessary.
An auger will be needed to dig some small holes for the posts, otherwise a great deal of concrete might be needed.
Pete will draw up a plan for the work, which will be sent to the PC along with the risk assessment and method statement. We will then liaise with John Martin and the man with the digger to set a date to start. Volunteers will be needed and a cement mixer.

12.19.12 AOB.
Water troughs
– Two troughs have now been installed. One needs some pipe-work and both will need covers. We will look at the troughs at Colwich to see how they manage theirs.
Memorial garden – One holly tree has been removed, but there is another which is causing a lot of shade in the garden. Tim or Joe will be asked if anything can be done about it. Apart from that it is looking good and the rota is working well.
Fruit and vegetable competition – Colwich allotments have a fruit and vegetable show in September and WFA members are eligible to take part. They will send publicity material nearer the time.

Next meeting: Tuesday 21st April 2020

Covid 19 Emergency Measures
March 29th, 2020
UPDATED 29/03/20

Dear Plot holders,
Following the instructions around movement and gatherings from the Prime Minister on 23 March 2020, it is vitally important that you follow all the advice about social distancing and hygiene in the points below and not gather together on site.

Any plot-holder who is self-isolating because a household member is ill with corona-virus should not be visiting the site.

Wellington Fields Allotments have displayed an advice notice on the notice board. It is important that anyone attending the allotment takes care to stay the appropriate distance from others, avoid body contact and not wash hands at taps, do not wash hands or use detergents in the water tanks and please pay attention to notice board.

It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency, if you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified to Secretary. Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70 and those with underlying illness or pregnant women.

We are living through a crisis, the likes of which none of us has experienced before, not since war time has the community spirit that exists on allotment sites been more important. Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times.

Covid 19 Emergency Measures- Essential to read and follow

Updated information members should take the following precautionary measures

Important Link to the full guidance or scan the code


·         Keep hand sanitiser in your shed and wash your hands regularly.

·         Use hand sanitiser before opening and closing any gate locks.

·         Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres and no more than two people.

·         DO NOT gather together for a chat even if you are 2 metres apart for guidance.


·         If you take your children to the plot, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces.

·         Do not share tools.

·         Minimise the contact with each other for example no handshakes.

·         Do not wash your hands in water troughs.

·         Inform the secretary if anyone in your household has been infected.

·         For guidance, if you do need to clean an area that has been visited by an infected person. See below.



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

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

12.19.1 Apologies:
Nick Brookes, Suzanne O'Farrell

12.19.2 Minutes of previous meetings and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 17th September 2019 were approved by the committee and signed by the chairman.
A decision about NSALG will be made at the AGM, with both options put to the plot holders.
The donated slabs were brought to the site and all have been used.

12.19.3 Financial report. (13th November)
The account balance is £2660.59.
Barry has been paid for the water trough and fixings (£94.95). Simon has been paid for the strimmer repairs and fuel and Pete has been reimbursed for the engineer's charge for the site visit.
There are 2 new tenants who have paid pro rata rents.
We have had a £50.00 donation to the Memorial fund, which now stands at £119.25.

12.19.4 Waiting list/vacant plots.
There are no vacant plots and no-one on the waiting list.

12.19.5 Compost storage area.
Simon, Pete Appleton and Brendan McKeown had a site meeting with the structural engineer discuss the proposed design of the storage area. The engineer seemed happy with the plans but we have not yet had anything in writing. Simon will ring him for written confirmation.
Before the work begins, Pete will produce a risk assessment.
The PC still want to put boarding on the end of the plots on the left-hand side of the access path. The committee feel that this is unnecessary and not the best use of the ring-fenced money. Once the compost storage area is agreed it would be good for a delegation from the committee to meet representatives from the PC to discuss the issue. SE , PA.

12.19.6 Composting guidelines.
Once the storage area has been completed we will revamp the guidelines to ensure that all plot holders are aware of the processes and procedures.

12.19.7 Uncultivated/untidy plots.
Plot holders with uncultivated plots have been written to. One tenant has spent a great deal of time clearing and tidying his plot. We have heard nothing from the other plot holder and so they will not be invoiced for the next season.

12.19.8 Unsigned Tenancy Agreement.
Jane will deliver another copy of the TA to the plot holder concerned and will ask that they sign and return it by 1st January. JG

12.19.9 Quiz.
This will be held on Sunday 26th January, at 7.30pm in the Bank House.

12.19.10 Newsletter.
The committee agreed a list of items for the next newsletter. AH

12.19.11 Wildlife area.
Once the storage area has been completed, this will be the next project.

12.19.12 A.O.B.
Water trough – Simon thanked Barry for all his work on acquiring and installing the water trough. John Martin has another trough which will be installed in the spring and once they are in use, a decision will be made as to whether to replace all the taps with troughs.

Next meeting: January 22nd at 7.30pm in the Bank House (to discuss the quiz)

Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Monday, 20th January 2020 in the Bank House

Present: Simon Ellin, Jane Garner, Karen Appleton, Barry Williams, Chris Hilton, Nick Brookes (+ Pete Appleton to discuss compost storage area)

1.20.1 Apologies:
Suzanne O'Farrell, Alan Hartley, Mark Connell

1.20.2 Quiz (Sunday 26th January – 7.30pm)
Simon will prepare the questions and will donate £20 for the first prize. There will be second and third prizes of £10 and £5.
We have a selection of raffle prizes including a magnum of rosι wine (with many thanks to Chris Lewis).
Simon will sit in the corner of the restaurant, in the hope that the sound system will be better.
The Bank House will be serving pizzas.
The quiz has been publicised by W.F.A. on the village FaceBook pages and also by the Bank House.
Jane will email a reminder to plot holders. SE, CH, JG

1.20.3 Vacant plots.
There are now two vacant plots with no-one on the waiting list. Chris will mention this on FaceBook and Jane will ask Catherine to put it on the Parish Council website. CH, JG.

1.20.4 Access path.
The committee is aware that some plot holders are storing items at the end of their plots but on the edge of the main access path. At present this is not causing any problems but we will keep an eye on it and will make sure that the access is not reduced.

1.20.5 Compost Storage.
Pete has been in touch with the structural engineer who has put his conclusions concerning the plans in writing. He feels that there is no risk and if a problem with the construction were to arise it would occur very slowly and could be easily addressed. He suggested that a land drain be inserted at the edge of the structure to avoid pressure on the retaining wall. Pete felt that this would be easy to do.
The engineer's letter has been passed to the PC for their records and it is hoped that we will be given the go ahead at the next PC meeting.
Pete explained how the area would be constructed and that a method statement and risk assessments are being drawn up. The site will be closed while the work is carried out.
Simon thanked Pete for all his work on the project.

1.20.6 A.O.B.
We will need to make a decision about membership of N.S.A.L.G. before the subscriptions are due and therefore before the A.G.M. Details of options will therefore be given to plot holders in the next few months and opinions gauged.

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