Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Bradley Fold Allotment Society held at Emmanuel Parish Hall, Didsbury
on Sunday 12th April 2015 at 3pm.
Present: Gordon Lorimer, Chairman, Anne Mackinnon, Secretary, Graham Carlisle, Treasurer and 22 members.
Apologies: Apologies were received from Linda Otten and Alan Hill.
2. Meeting of the previous meeting held on April 6th 2014.
The minutes were approved.
3. Matters arising from the minutes of the meeting held on April 6th 2014.
Honeybee problem – as decided at the AGM, the hives were reduced from 10 to 4. Gordon reported that Linda Otten had thanked the committee and said she can now enjoy coming to the allotment at last.
Bins and their contents – Mike Barber organised a clean up of the site with a skip that had been provided free of charge from the council. He is prepared to organise a clean up every year and will enquire as to whether a skip will be provided free of charge again. In answer to a question from the floor regarding the type of rubbish, he confirmed that it was mainly plastic.
4. Chairman’s Report.
4.1 Gordon extended thanks to John Watson who had organised the very interesting talk by Chris of The Kindling Trust, which had commenced the meeting today. He asked if members were keen that we follow the same format next year. All agreed that we should.
4.2 Gordon explained that use of the Rugby Club, as discussed last year at the AGM, had not worked out as well as we had hoped. Unfortunately the small rooms are no longer available and the large rooms are very full and noisy with members of the club. It was a good space for the Christmas event but we haven’t been able to use it on other occasions. We have, therefore continued with our plans for our own pavilion. This will be explained in more detail under Item 6.
4.3 Gordon told the meeting that the situation regarding the vagrant has not improved and he has now been on the site for at least 6 weeks. He warned the meeting that, though he appears to be pleasant and well educated, he is actually very dangerous and that we should avoid him. Complaints have been forwarded to the council and they have been sending security to patrol the site. Gordon told plot holders to phone the police if they see the vagrant as they have a key to the site and can get in. He also asked that all those with a shed should lock it.
4.4 Gordon apologised to the meeting about the website not being kept up to date and explained the reasons for this. He said a member has now set up a new site and Diane Turner is working with him. He welcomed suggestions for its content. The address of the new website is www.bradleyfoldallotment.org.uk
4.5 Congratulations and thanks were extended to David Sweet for the award of Silver Gilt. as part of the Didsbury in Bloom presentation.
4.6 Gordon expressed sadness at the sudden death of Shirley who had been running the allotment shop for many years. Bernadette Sweeney, who now runs the shop, introduced herself and explained that the website will improve communication. Bernadette asked that if members have any suggestions as to new stock, they should let her know. A book was passed around for people to sign if they would like to help in the shop. She told them that it was not hard work but fun!
4.7 Gordon explained that the old pavilion had been rotten and had become dangerous. After agreeing to take it down, the committee discussed designs for a new one. Nick Walker has come up with some very interesting ideas and he presented them to the meeting. He explained that security was an issue and so had discussed the possibility of container architecture with three landscape architects who have allotments on the site. They had come up with the idea of two containers, which would be staggered and lined inside with plywood. They would look like a metal box at night but open up during the day. This would ease any worries about security. Nick had presented these drawings to the representatives of the council when they visited the site recently.. The plans shown by Nick Walker are on the new website.
The meeting voted by a show of hands, 24 for and 1 against, to continue with plans for the environmentally friendly pavilion.
4.8 Nick also explained that as the council had told us that they have no money for fencing and so it has been decided to continue to plant chestnut paling to improve security. He said it was not expensive and that the council is pleased with the idea and told us to go ahead. He is organising a working party on October 4th to which all are welcome. They will remove a big tree and some of the smaller saplings and there will be a chipper for the smaller pieces. He stressed that we must seek permission from the council if we wish to remove a tree larger than a foot in diameter and should not plant any trees other than fruit trees and these should not be planted by a path or another allotment.
The meeting voted by a unanimous show of hands that we should organise the security fencing.
4.9 Gordon explained the situation regarding the toilet. The committee had made the decision not to continue with renting one, as the price was too high. They had, therefore, investigated the various options and agreed on a compostable one, which cost about £1,500. However, when this was mentioned to the council they recommended one that was considerably more expensive.
The meeting voted by a show of hands, 24 for and 1 against, to purchase the cheaper toilet.
4.10 Gordon thanked the committee for their hard work during the previous year. He thanked John Watson in particular for all his hard work with AMAS and the Council.
5. Treasurer’s Report.
Graham took the meeting through the accounts item by item explaining what each category meant. Graham told the meeting that sales in the shop had declined over the previous year but that they had picked up again recently. He was confident that sales would now improve.
He explained that the rents have all been collected. There was some confusion and delay with the council regarding the amount owed to them but this has now been resolved.
The BBQ made a loss. With the experience of this year next year should at least break even. The Produce Sales are very successful and are much appreciated by the local community.
Graham told the meting that the committee is considering leaving AMAS and NSALG. A member of our committee has written to them asking what they do but we haven’t received a reply yet. We could still continue to purchase the seeds directly from Kings at the same price and up to now, this seems to be the only reason for belonging. A suggestion was made that they may be able to help with the feasibility study needed for the pavilion. We should enquire about this. We have another 10 months of membership so will look into what we get for our subs.
Graham told the meeting that, the shop would now close in January as well as December and August, as there are very few customers at this time.
Geoff Bridgson suggested we open the shop on a Saturday. It was suggested that he should organise a rota to run the shop if it was to open on Saturday..
6. Activities in 2016 – 2016
The following dates were announced:
BBQ – June 28th
Produce Sale – August 30th. It was agreed to keep this date flexible depending on the season but that we should avoid Heritage Week.
Open Gardens – June 14th.
Christmas Function-December 12th
AGM- April 3rd, 2016
7. Election of Committee for 2015 – 2015
The nominations proposed by the committee were accepted. The new committee is:
Gordon Lorimer – Chair
Graham Carlisle – Treasurer
Bernadette Sweeney – Shop Manager
Anne Mackinnon – Minutes Secretary
Natalie Marshall – Member (Plot Allocation)
Mike Barber – President
Fiona Thomas – Member (Produce Sales)
Mike Clarke – Member (Site Manager)
Nick Walker – Member
Mike O’Hare – Member.
There have been three resignations from the committee: Alex Miller, George Hall and John Watson. The Chairman thanked the three for their contribution to the society.
Parking – a member asked if we could help to resolve the problem with parking. At the weekend, the first car park is often full and the one at the back by the BBQ can also be full. It can be difficult to turn round the tight corner and there are tree stumps on the grass preventing cars from maneuvering easily. It was explained that these stumps are to stop people from sinking into the soft ground. It was agreed that we could look at the corner and, hopefully, widen it. We could also move the BBQ back to give more space.
Japanese Knot Weed – a member informed the meeting that the Japanese Knot weed is back with a vengeance in a pile of wood chips. Gordon asked the member to email him so he could forward the details to the council and the Environment Agency.. They are very keen to eradicate this weed immediately.
Food Waste – a member commented how distressing it is to see food being left and not being harvested. Last year a lot of food went to Burnage Food bank but there was still a lot that was wasted. Christine and Rupa are happy to organise harvesting if the plot holders tell them that they will be away.
Action: Gordon to get details and inform members.
9. Date and venue of next meeting
April 3rd 2016 in the Emmanuel Parish Hall, Didsbury*.
*The Chairman requests that suggestions for an appropriate speaker before the AGM are sent to him.