Harwich Town Council

The Guildhall,
Church Street,
Harwich. CO12 3DS

t: 01255 507211
e: info@harwichtowncouncil.co.uk
Hours: 9.30am – 1pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Allotment Minutes – 24th June 2021

 HARWICH TOWN COUNCIL
Guildhall, Church Street, Harwich, Essex CO12 3DS
Tel: 01255 507211
email: info@harwichtowncouncil.co.uk

MINUTES of the Meeting of the ALLOTMENTS COMMITTEE
held on
Thursday 24th June  2021 at 7.00pm
at Long Meadows Community Centre

Present: Councillors Powell, Chant, Fay, Morrison, Richardson, D Smith and Davidson
In the Chair: Councillor Todd
Clerk: Michelle Townsend
Also present: Site Representatives Feaviour, Chamberlain, Cielecki and Bayford

No members of the public and no members of the press

 

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME:

None

A01/21 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received from:
Cllrs Calver and I Henderson
Site Representative Peter Day
A02/21 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTEREST
Cllr D Smith in relation to item 10 as his property adjoins Boatswains Call allotment site.
A03/21 ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR
RESOLVED: To appoint Councillor David Smith as vice-chair of the Allotments Committee.
A04/21 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the Allotments meeting held on 18th March 2021 (previously circulated) be approved by the committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record.
FURTHER RESOLVED:  That the confidential minutes of the Allotments meeting held on 18th March 2021 (previously circulated) be approved by the committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record.
A05/21 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
A45/20 – Signage at Redoubt– ‘No dog walking’ signage was relocated to the fencing by the site notice board.
A48/20 – Tidy up Initiative at the Redoubt Allotment Site – Metal collection has been successful and has now been removed from the site.  Due to possible issues, it was agreed for the communal bonfire not to go ahead.
A52/20 – Tree Liabilities – Work has been delayed until September due to the nesting season.
A06/21 MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES
Redoubt Hedge and Footpath – Finance & General Purposes Committee agreed to enter into negotiations with Tendring District Council about land ownership of all allotment land managed by Harwich Town Council.  Currently awaiting a response from Tendring District Council.
A07/21 VACANT PLOTS/WAITING LIST/NOTICES TO QUIT
The Clerk advised members of the following:
• 42 people on the waiting list (most are waiting for specific sites or plots)
• 3 vacant plots
• 2 NTQs issued since the last meeting
A08/21 SITE REPRESENTATIVE REPORTS
Mrs Feaviour – It has been an interesting year weather wise but the site is looking good.
Mr ChamberlainOther than the know problem plots, everyone is working hard.
Mrs CieleckiBeing a bigger site, there are quite a few ‘seasonal’ allotment holders so there are a handful of problem plots which the council are aware of.
Mr Bayford
– Site is tidy and the new plot holder is doing well.
A09/21 BUDGET UPDATE
The Clerk briefed members on the current financial position of the allotments budget:
Allotments Maintenance Budget –                               £2000.00

Total expenditure to date
Padlock for Long Meadows                                         £   18.74
5x padlock keys cut for KGA                                       £   25.00
Allotment tap key                                                         £ 249.50
Balance                                                                      £1706.76

A10/21 REVIEW OF BONFIRE POLICY
Members considered a suggestion to amend the time when bonfires can occur and clarify the months that they come into effect.

RESOLVED:  To amend the tenancy agreement with effect from September 2021 to state bonfires must only occur after 18:00 hours between the months of February and September and after 15:00 hours between the months of October and January.

A11/21 REVIEW CURRENT PROCEDURES AND TENANCY AGREEMENT IN RELATION TO THE MANAGEMENT OF WASTE ON SITE, CONDITION OF PLOTS WHEN RELINQUISHED, WILD FLOWERS/MEADOWS AREAS
Members discussed the current administration process in relation to problem plots and considered suggestions to assist with the management. At the present time members were reluctant to introduce a deposit scheme to ensure that plots remain affordable for all.  Members felt that irrespective of the condition of the plot when taken on, the tenancy agreement is quite clear that the new plot holder is responsible for all items on the plot, both planted, deposited or built on the site and that it is the plot holders responsibility to ensure that the plot is clear of weeds and debris during the tenancy.

The Clerk advised that plots are very rarely handed back in an acceptable condition.  Members felt that the council needs to ensure that the agreed processes are followed through and that anyone handing a plot back to the council must clear it from overgrowth and non-allotment items.  The tenancy agreement states that the plot should be left in a clean and tidy condition and all non-allotment equipment removed from the site.  If in the opinion of the council, the plot has not been left in a satisfactory condition, any work carried out by the council to return the plot to a satisfactory condition shall be recharged to the vacating tenant.
Members debated the growing of flowers on plots as some plots are now growing wild flowers and meadow areas which can be a nuisance to neighbouring plots and an issue for the next tenant when removing the ‘meadow’.  The Clerk advised any agreed amendments to the tenancy agreement will be issued to existing plot holders in September.
RESOLVED:  The Chair and Cllr Richardson to assist the Clerk with producing a checklist (to be signed by new tenants) to make clear the plot holder’s responsibilities and what action the council will take if the plot is handed back in an unsatisfactory condition (irrespective of the condition of the plot when first taken on). The checklist is to be set up immediately for new tenants and a copy to be issued to existing tenants with their invoice in September.
FURTHER RESOLVED: The following wording to be to be included in the checklist and tenancy agreement:
When taking on a plot, any areas left uncovered should be cleared of all weeds and overgrowth within 6 weeks of taking on the tenancy.
When taking on a plot, any items left by the vacating tenant and not being utilised for the intended purpose, should be removed from the site within 6 weeks of taking on the tenancy.
FURTHER RESOLVED: The committee believes that the following processes need to be tightened up (and have instructed the Clerk to do so). If in the opinion of the council, the plot has not been left in a satisfactory condition, any work carried out by the council to return the plot to a satisfactory condition shall be recharge to the vacating tenant. This is to be promoted on the notice boards and with the invoices when they are issued in September.
FURTHER RESOLVED:  Written permission to be sought, either new or retrospective, for the growing of wild flowers or meadow area on an allotment plot and must be located in the centre of the plot within a raised bed.  Size to be no larger than 2m x 2m for a 10 rod plot and 1m x 1m for a 5 rod plot. 

A12/21 ALLOTMENT RENTS
The Clerk briefed members on the current allotment fees and those which had been agreed to be implemented in September 2021.
RESOLVED:  A further increase of 50p per rod (£4.50 per rod) from September 2022 and to keep the discount for those in receipt of state pension at 25%.
A13/21 MATTERS RECEIVED IN THE POST, BE REPORTED OR RAISED BY MEMBERS
None
A14/21 TIME AND DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Allotments Committee will be held at 7pm on Thursday 21st October 2021, at a venue to be agreed.
A15/21 EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
Members RESOLVED: That Pursuant to Sub-Section 2 of Section 1 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 the meeting was closed to the press and public for the transaction of the under-mentioned business:

  • Voluntary Site Representative Vacancy – King Georges Avenue

The Chairman closed the public part of the meeting at 8.45pm

 

CHAIRMAN:                                                             DATE:

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