AAG news and updates September 2011

1.  Next AAG meeting:    Due to confusion, the AAG meeting due on 15th September was not quorate.   The next Alexandra Allotment Group meeting will be in November Continue reading

Last AAG meeting – Thursday 14th July – including meeting minutes

The last meeting of AAG was on Thursday 14th July. 

The minutes of the meeting are at  

Notes_of _AAG_meeting_14.7.2011 

Minutes of the previous meeting are at  Notes of the 13th committee meeting of AAG 1.6.2011 1

Talk on the Community Payback Scheme – on Saturday 16th July

Several months ago there was some interest in the possibility of getting  work done on the site by offenders working through the Community Payback Scheme (CPS).  Some plot holders have reservations, and so it was decided at the AAG AGM that someone from the CPS would come and give an informal talk. 

Tony Pool and Kate Botha, from the Redhill office of the CPS gave an informal talk and answered our questions about the scheme and how it works. Notes of the meeting can be seen at Talk on the Community Payback Scheme 16th July 2011

Having obtained detailed information about how the CPS works, and how it might be used on our allotment site, we are interested to know what plot holders think. 

If you are in favour of us giving the scheme a trial, please let us know. Equally let us know if you are opposed to it being used on the site, even for a trial period.  We will have a special daytime AAG meeting at Diggers Den on a weekend date in the autumn  (date to be arranged), where the matter will be up for public discussion and a decision may be made.

Please let us know your views, to   plotholder@alexallotment.co.uk

Monbiot article about Aminopyralid poisoning from manure

I found this article be George Monbiot interesting.  I had heard of the problem of manure being contaminated by herbicide, badly affecting vegetable plants, a few years ago, but not recently.  Wonder if anyone else has encountered it, or has views on it?
“Has-Beans” The government and the industry promised that they had dealt with aminopyralid poisoning. They haven’t. Continue reading

Minutes of the Epsom & Ewell Allotment Forum meeting on 20th June

The Epsom & Ewell Allotment Forum is an informal body (not an official Council committee) that consists of representatives from all the allotment sites in the borough. They meet several times each year, with the Chairmanship rotating between the various allotment sites.

The Forum attempts to liaise with the Council on allotment matters, and respresent the interests of the various allotment sites.  It endeavours to raise the profile of allotments in the borough, and help to ensure that the various allotment committees work in co-operation with the Council.

The last Allotment Forum meeting was on Monday 20th June, and the minutes of that meeting are at  Forum_Meeting_Minutes_20.6.2011

AAG meeting – held on 1st June – meeting notes

The most recent meeting of AAG was on 1st June.

The agenda is at  AAG Agenda 1.6.2011

Meeting notes  Notes of the 13th committee meeting of AAG 1.6.2011 1

The accounts for the year ending 31st March can be seen at Accounts 31 March 2011

 

Changes to waste bays:

There are soon to be slight changes to the three communal compost/waste areas on the allotment site.  After much discussion, it has been agreed they will have two bays, for compostable green waste (soft weeds) and non-compostable plant waste.  They will be clearly labelled, for ease of use.  A small work party will be arranged shortly to put up the bays and signs at the top (Bridle  Road) waste site.
 
We ask the co-operation of all plot holders in not dumping any rubbish on any of the bays (plastic, glass, metal, carpet,  planks of wooe etc).  Please could you take this home with you, for disposal in your home rubbish or recycling collection.
 
We will see how the new two-bay system works, over the coming weeks, and whether changes or modifications are needed.

New plot holders have now been allocated their quarter plots

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council did its non-cultivation inspections of all the allotment sites in April, and and have now allocated most plots to people on the waiting list.

Nobody is getting more than a quarter plot at present, so the Council can try and reduce the waiting list for plots as quickly as possible.

Until the waiting list is reduced, no exisiting plot holders (even those who were allocated quarter plots a year or two ago, and have managed them well) will be allowed another plot.  Not even another quarter.

AAG understand there is a waiting list for allotments in the borough of something like 150 people.  The Alexandra site is particularly popular.

On Saturday 21st May, EEBC staff started showing prospective new plot holders around, and allocating them their new quarter plots.  They were not given a choice, but needed to take the one they were offered. (In the past, they were given a choice).  If the prospective plot holder does not like the plot they are given, they go back to the bottom of the waiting list.

We  look forward to seeing some of the overgrown, grassy plots having new tenants before long !

AAG hopes we can all make all the new plot holders welcome, and that they find their allotment a pleasant and rewarding activity.

AAG AGM

The Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 16th April 2011.

  • The new Chairman is Carolyn Page.
  • The new Treasurer is Kate Cross.
  • The Secretary remains Sarah Clayton

Meeting notes have been circulated to members and can be read by clicking here

The new Management Committee looks forward to working with all plot holders, and giving them any assistance we can, during the coming year.

Chairman’s Report for 2010-11

ALEXANDRA ALLOTMENT GROUP

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT APRIL 2010 TO MARCH 2011

I am pleased to present this report of the activities of the AAG for the period April 2010 to March 2011. This has been a very successful and effective year for the AAG.

We have 115 plot-holders on our direct contact list, covering about 190 plots and have used poster campaigns to reach everyone on the site about key issues and events. In addition new tenancy agreements now include AAG contact details. All plot-holders are entitled to attend and make an active contribution to Management Committee meetings. We have held regular meetings, attended by a total of 20 plot-holders and we thank them all for their contributions. We have issued a number of Newsletters to keep plot-holders informed of issues and events and we have had up to 200 hits per month on our website, which has been kept regularly updated and now includes a message board.

The AAG has effectively represented plot-holders on the Epsom & Ewell Allotment Forum and the AAG Chairman has acted as Secretary to the Forum.

The AAG established relations with the local police and arranged for the allotment to be included in their regular patrol of the area, as well as in night inspections. We now receive regular updates from Surrey Police on local issues.

In July 2010 the AAG agreed to rent the vineyard plots on site in order to preserve and maintain the vines for the benefit of all plot-holders. We successfully won sponsorship from Denbies Wine Estate for the project. As well as covering the cost of the rent for the first three years, Denbies are providing practical on-site training and advice.

Ten plot-holders agreed to manage the nineteen rows of vines and have given extremely generously of their time and resources to replace the framework and care for the vines. For the first harvest the vine managers decided to join the Urban Wine Company (UWC), which acts as a winemaking collective for local growers in London and the South East. The first batch of allotment wine was delivered at the end of March 2011.

In November 2010 the Council attempted to block access through the top gate in Bridle Road. After seeking the views of plot-holders the AAG successfully campaigned against this action.

We launched a new discount seed scheme with Marshalls Seeds, with a 35% discount on seeds, as well as reductions on a wide range of other products.

Over the winter Diggers’ Den was revamped and is now available as a pleasant communal area for use by all plot-holders, as well as for AAG events. The shed donated by Wilkinson’s was erected and painted and contains a range of information and advice for plot-holders.

We have held a number of successful events, including a summer BBQ and a Harvest Supper & Quiz.

The AAG successfully publicised the site and allotment issues via the media, in order to ensure continued support for and understanding of the allotment from local residents and Councillors. These included an interview on BBC Radio, an article in the Epsom Guardian newspaper and a piece in the Epsom Matters magazine.

We have campaigned for a reduced rent for vulnerable tenants including senior citizens and those on low-incomes. The Council has now agreed to consider the practicalities and implications of concessionary rates in time for the review of rents and fees for next financial year.

Finally we would like to express our sincere gratitude once again to John Pearce for kindly arranging deliveries of manure. We would also like to thank Kimberley Gimines for supporting the bee hives on site.

Further to the issues raised at the last AGM the following actions were taken:

  1. Charging for permission to raise structures. The AAG has successfully negotiated with the Council to have this charge removed.
  2. Non-cultivation surveys. The AAG successfully negotiated on behalf of a number of plot-holders who had received unjustified warnings or notices to quit.
  3. Management of the Waste Bays. At the urging of the AAG all the waste bays on site were fully emptied by the Council for the first time in some years. Further awareness-raising about the proper use of waste bays needs to be carried out, as some plot-holders persist in dumping carpet, plastic and other rubbish in them.
  4. State of the onsite toilet. The AAG thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the toilet and has continued to maintain it, providing toilet tissue, cleaning products and water containers. We would ask that users please have consideration for others by leaving it clean and tidy.

Allotment featured in Epsom Matters