Harwich Town Council

The Guildhall,
Church Street,
Harwich. CO12 3DS

t: 01255 507211
e: info@harwichtowncouncil.co.uk
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Allotments Minutes 23rd October 2013

MINUTES of the Meeting of the ALLOTMENTS COMMITTEE
held at
The Guildhall, Church Street, Harwich
on
Wednesday 23rd October at 7.00pm

Present: Councillors King, Morrison, McLeod, C Powell, F Powell, and Thompson
In the Chair: Councillor A Todd
Clerk: Michelle Townsend
Also present: Site Representatives Mrs Steward and Mr McCoy
1 member of the public and no members of the press
Absent: Site Representatives Mr Button, Mr O’Hara, Mr Mesher and Miss Clark

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME:

Mr Wood inquired how many Notice to Quits had been issued in relation to non payment of the annual rent. The Clerk informed him that 4 had been issued. Mr Wood then asked why plot holders had not been given 40 days to pay their rent as specified in the tenancy agreement.   The Clerk confirmed that the invoices were issued at the beginning of September and the NTQs were not issued until mid October. Prior to this point, extensive efforts have been made to contact those with outstanding invoices by other means.

Mr Wood informed the Committee that the agenda and previous minutes had not been placed on the notice board at Boatswains Call and asked that we chase the Site Representative. Members informed Mr Wood that due to the capacity of the notice board, it would not be possible to display all paperwork as well as notices. The Committee had previously agreed to ask all Site Reps to display the minutes (not agendas), once approved, but would gently remind all Site Reps to ensure that they are promptly displayed.

Mr Wood expressed his concerns with not being able to ask questions on item 12 as at this stage he would not know what will be discussed and queried the rules in relation to public questions. The Clerk informed Mr Wood that the protocol for public speaking at Committee meetings had not changed and formed part of HTC’s standing orders. Cllr King informed Mr Wood that he was able to contact the office in writing with any issues he may have and did not need to wait until the next Committee meeting to raise queries.

Mr Wood asked how much the clearance for the mound at Long Meadows cost. The Clerk confirmed that the original quotation was £1950, however, members would be discussing an additional cost under item 8 for the non-recyclable waste found in the mound.

Mr Wood then queried why item 16 was on the agenda again as this had been resolved at the meeting held on 8th July 2013. He was informed that this would need to be voted upon at each meeting where confidential business was to take place and the members would like the Site Reps to be present.

A35/13 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr Nicholson, Calver and J Henderson who was substituted by Cllr C Powell
A36/13 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
None
A37/13 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Allotments meeting held on 27th August 2013 (previously circulated) be approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record.
A38/13 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
None
A39/13 VACANT PLOTS/ WAITING LIST/NOTICES TO QUIT
The Clerk advised members of the following:

  • 16 people on the waiting list
  • 5 NTQs issued since the last meeting
  • 3 vacant plots, 1 of which will be available with effect from 1st November 2013
A40/13 SITE REPS REPORT
Mrs Steward – no issues although a couple of plots are not being fully worked, they are not causing problems for other plot holders.Mr McCoy – Plot 9 has historically been allowed to place plastic bins on a communal area. Due to the mound being cleared recently, the plot holder was asked to move them but has not done so. Due to the continued use of the pathways by the contractors clearing the mound, and the bad weather, the pathways have been left in a poor and unsafe condition.   The Clerk agreed to organise a solution to the dangerous pathway as it was a health and safety issue and suitable suggestion made was to lay a covering of sand.
RESOLVED: Cleared area to be measured and issued as a new plot.
FURTHER RESOLVED: Clerk to write to plot 9 and ask that all their property is stored on their plot.
A41/13 NON COMPLIANCE OF THE ALLOTMENTS TENANCY AGREEMENT
Members discussed the issues caused by repeated non compliance by allotment tenants and the multiple issue of pre NTQs.   It was felt that the specific circumstances needed to be taken into consideration in certain cases but there should be no more than 2 pre NTQs issued for the same reason within a twelve month period. Members considered the costs incurred with issuing NTQs, the Clerk’s time and the nuisance caused to other plot holders when a plot is not being worked.
RESOLVED:     Following the issue of 2 pre NTQs within a twelve month period, no further pre NTQ will be issued. A NTQ will then automatically be issued.
A42/13 TO CONSIDER ADDITIONAL COST FOR THE REMOVAL OF NON RECYCLABLE WASTE FOUND IN THE MOUND – LONG MEADOWS
Members reviewed the report submitted by the contractors along with evidence of the waste found. Discussions took place regarding the feasibility of fining residents and plot holders who fly tip. The Clerk agreed to investigate so that discussions could take place at the next meeting.
RESOLVED: To agree to pay the additional cost of £400 to cover 50% of the costs incurred by the contractors to dispose of the waste found in the mound.
A43/13 BUDGET FOR MUNICIPAL YEAR 2014/15
The Chairman provided members with an update on budgets spent year to date and expenditure due to be incurred for 2013/2014.   Members discussed possible future projects and proposed budgets for 2014/15.
RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND: Budget for the Municipal Year 2014/15
GROUNDS MAINTENANCE – 3000
WATER RATES – 1800
RESERVE FUND – 1500
A44/13 SECURITY AT THE REDOUBT SITE
Members considered options for providing additional security to the Redoubt site.
RESOLVED:   Clerk to liaise with Harwich Society and organise a site visit to discuss possible options.
A45/13 PI COVER FOR PLOT HOLDERS
Members reviewed and noted information from Shield Insurance regarding blanket PI Insurance to cover up to 250 plot holders.
A46/13 COMMITTEE SITE VISITS
The Chairman provided an update following the recent site visits undertaken and asked that Site Reps check that all plots have been numbered and give a gentle reminder should any not be numbered.   Clerk agreed to produce a notice to be displayed on all sites.
A47/13 SUBSTITUTION/DEPUTISATION FOR SITE REPRESENTATIVES
RESOLVED: Site Representatives to consider a deputy to represent their site in their absence. Substitution to be allowed at Allotment Committee meetings should the Site Rep or Deputy not be able to attend. HTC office to be notified of the substitute 1 week prior to any Committee meeting.
A48/13 REVIEW OF 6 MONTHS TRIAL PERIOD FOR BEE HIVES SITUATED AT THE REDOUBT SITE
The Chairman delivered the report received from the Bee Specialist, Mr Richard McHale and confirmed that no complaints had been received. Members concurred that the bee trail had been a success.
RESOLVED: Permanently implemented as a Harwich Town Council policy.
A49/13 MATTERS RECEIVED IN THE POST OR RAISED BY MEMBERS
None
A50/13 TO RESOLVE TO PERMIT SITE REPRESENTATIVES TO REMAIN IN THE MEETING DURING CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS
RESOLVED: To permit the Site Representative to remain in the meeting during confidential business.
A51/13 TIME AND DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Allotments Committee will be held at The Guildhall, Church Street, Harwich on Wednesday 18th December 2013 at 7pm

The Chairman closed the public part of the meeting at 8.28pm