South Ward Allotments

At Kennington, Oxford

Minutes of AGM 26th April 2013




Present: David Allen (Chair), Emma Tinker (Secretary), John Card (Treasurer), Pete and Sandra Mulvany (joint lettings secretary), Dickie Webb, James Duncan, Alan Deakin, Margaret Young, Diana Cox, Pat Mabbutt, George Young, Ivor Roberts.

Apologies received from: Tim Gardiner, Peter Biggs, Ivan Stipala, Rachel Hammond.

Before the AGM proper, the committee met to examine and subsequently agree the accounts presented by the Treasurer.

1. The Chair (DA) opened the meeting and welcomed everyone.

2. The minutes of the AGM held on 26 April 2012 were agreed and there were no matters arising.

3. David Allen presented the Chair’s report:
Federation/Oxford City Council (OCC Meetings):
Rent review: The City Council is conducting a benchmarking exercise as a basis for the forthcoming rent review. This should be completed by September 2013. It seems likely that the new rents will be established on the basis of cost per hectare, which will mean an increase to us. With this in mind we have gradually increased the rent paid by plotholders in order to minimise the impact. The final figure should be known by September 2015.

Allotment competition: Congratulations to all who took part as individual entrants last year. Across the competition as a whole there were 97 individual plots, 9 association sites and 11 polytunnels entered. Although our site was not placed (one point off third!), we were well represented with individual awards.
As a result of the cold start to the season, the judging committee are intending to move the closing date for this year’s entries back a month. Date to be confirmed soon. The judging for the site will be judged on the basis of the September visit only.

OCC website: The allotments charter is now on the OCC website. Also to be published on the website soon is the OCC Green Space Strategy, which will be the master plan until 2027.

OCC Grant Budget: This is £4000 again this year. Applications will only be considered for plot clearance, site security and water harvesting.

Suttons Seed Scheme: This year we used the local Post Office as the distribution point for seed catalogues. This worked well and the same system will be used in future, allowing us to reduce the number of catalogues distributed. Last year we once again achieved a maximum 52% discount on packeted seeds. 28 orders were received, 5 of which were from non-members. The saving on packeted seeds was £784 and £65 on other items.

Machine hire/ weed killer charges: The cost to use weed killer will remain at £1 per fill, and use of the strimmer at £2 per fill of fuel.

4. Emma Tinker presented the Secretary’s report:
Lettings: Plot occupancy has been high throughout the year but a few recent departures have left us with 2 x 5 pole, 1 x 7.5 pole and 4 x 10 pole plots vacant. (Plots 200 and 324-5 have been abandoned due to flooding, but may be re-let when we run out of others.) ET noted that most of the very neglected plots have now been vacated, and the site is in fairly good shape considering the cold spring.

Fly tipping has been a serious problem this year. The Environment Agency is trying to get the situation under control, but progress is slow. OCC are not being particularly helpful, in spite of repeated requests for action. However, tipping seems to have reduced recently. Some concern was expressed about the presence of asbestos – ET to keep trying to get this removed.

Shed roof repairs. We have made do with temporary repairs since the serious break-in this time last year. DA and PM are planning to do some more long-lasting repairs when the weather warms up and the roof has had a chance to dry out.

Community Service. We have arranged for Thames Valley Probation Service to bring some offenders to do unpaid work on the site. We have bought a load of chippings to fill holes in the road, and we may also be able to get the stream cleared if it dries out enough in the summer.

5. John Card presented the Treasurer’s report:
• The annual accounts showed a surplus of £246.11, in spite of the cost of replacing the machinery stolen last year, and cash reserves of £4591,37.

6. AOB:
• Following last year’s successful BBQ, this will take place again in late summer (August or early September).
• Pat Mabutt thanked the committee for their work, and DA closed the meeting by thanking Pat for her diligent maintenance of the compost toilet.

Emma Tinker
07769 697208