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AGM 2019

Minutes of the 98th Annual General Meeting held on Sunday 24th March 2019, 11.05 am

Community Hut, Binswood Allotment


M.Atkins, D.Bradley, J.Bradley, M.Bradley, N.Bond, S.Bond, S.Buckingham, A. Cathcart, R. Cathcart, S. Cawthorne, J.Challis, M.Challis, H.Davy, J.Davy, K. Dehnen-Schmutz, D.Elliot, A.Foster, A. Gladman, P.Griffin, M.Hurst, R.King, B. Landsborough, K.Gasser-Lawrence, C. Levack, A. McCormack, L. Mcnab, M.Payne, S.Penny, L.Phillips, S.Rasmussen, P. Roberts L.Robson, M.Shepard, T.Stephens, K.Stephenson, J.Stone, M.Taylor, D. Tennant, M. van Rooyen, T.Walter, T.Woodrow, J.Young


1 Welcome

2 Apologies

3 Minutes of 2018 meeting

4 Matters Arising

5 Chair’s Report

6 Treasurer’s Report

7 Membership Secretary’s Report

8 John Shuttleworth Cup


10 Close of meeting

1 Welcome

Kristen Lawrence welcomed everyone to the Community Hut for the 98th and her inaugural AGM as Chair. Welcome especially to all new members.

2 Apologies

H. Tudge, J.Morgan, P. Burtonshaw, P. Barraclough-Fox, J.Hawkins, J.Carrier, S. Hallet

3 Minutes of 2018 AGM meeting

No comments about 2018 minutes. Acceptance of the minutes was proposed by B.Landsborough and seconded by T.Walter.

4 Matters Arising

No matters arising from 2018 minutes.

5 Chair’s Report Kristen Lawrence

5.1 Growing season

A synopsis of the previous growing season: this was the fourth hottest year ever with it being warmer drier and sunnier on average. There was a cold wintry start to the year with snow, a rainy March and a hot summer with May to July being hot and sunny. There was a mild winter and lack of rain produced disappointing crops, however, some species thrived such as squash, corn and tomatoes.

5.2 Major Activities for 2018/2019

Plot Clearance- In order to re-let plots including skips for the rubbish

Site Maintenance work was carried out on the South boundary hedge, with thanks to David Wright.

Ditch along boundary was professionally cleared.

Two large trees along southern boundary were taken down by tree surgeons.

The posts of the pedestrian gates at Borrowdale Drive were replaced by the supplier as they were faulty.

 Planning a security hygiene measure of changing the gate codes. Members will be emailed with the new number.

5.3 Organisation resilience

There has been a major effort to build resilience into the organisation by expanding and creating opportunities for more people to take part. We have been passing knowledge and distributing tasks to two new volunteer groups for plot letting and equipment hire. There is now an equipment hire team who have a new equipment hut built with town council grant money from last year. In the past the equipment borrowing was ad-hoc by several volunteers to whom we are extremely grateful. There is also a plot letting group This has been a challenge but it is exciting to collectively support the society. Anyone can join the volunteer groups to participate in the community.

5.4 Council Grant

Last year £2500 was used to purchase and erect the equipment hire store.

The application for the Leamington Town Council grant was successful again this year. The grant comes from the Council, which uses the rents from four allotment societies within Leamington and then redistributes the money through the grant.

This year we applied for £1,500 for the following items: to make repairs to the boundary and for a new gate. This would be a vehicular gate at the Northumberland road entrance that will replace a gate that was historically there. The purpose of this new gate would be to prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering site to deter produce theft, dumping and equipment theft. The insurance cost would be kept down also.

5.5 Community Hut

The Community Hut continues to be a wonderful resource for members to get together throughout the year. It continues to be regularly used for social and educational events.

The events are organised by the Community Hut events group led this year by Alison and Paula with help from Liz, Bonnie, Catherine, Meg, Dina, Sue, Sheila, Gemma, Tom and others.

Alison’s overview for this year;

April- Pilates on the Plot

May- Plant swap

June- Talk about beneficial insects

July- Tea and scones

August- BBQ

September- Ryton Gardens talk

October- Apple pressing

November- TBA

December- Christmas cheer.

A program for future events will be posted on the notice boards and by email and we encourage people to attend.

5.6 Initiatives for year ahead

Continue to pursue the volunteer resources and set up working parties throughout the year

We plan to carry out two plot inspections throughout the year making it a little more formalised, with the first one being on the 20th May and the second in the autumn. These are to help us take stock of the site and to allow us to address problems before they get too big, keeping in mind that there is always a pressure to keep the allotment fully used to deter developers.

Further development of the Allotment website to make it more user friendly and give information about equipment hire and hut events.

Binswood Ex-Servicemen’s Allotments turns 100 in 2020. This is a milestone that should be celebrated and marked and the Committee is interested in the creation of a Centenary group to think about how we should celebrate this event and pursue any avenues, such as grant funding, that may help us do so.

5.7 Artist Karen Stephenson

Proposing art events on the allotments, plots to host sculpture installations. Art trails guided tours on 5th May.

Potentially a couple of open days in May for invited guests.

There are proposals for having 10 or 12 locally-based Leamington artists to create pieces of art for display on the allotments with a map to show where the pieces are situated.

Questions were taken from the members

Where would they be?- next to the path so no plant trampling

Concern about security- The event would not be widely publicised ,ie not in local paper. An official opening with invited guests only.

Public liability insurance?- The artists already have their own public liability insurance, a risk assessment would be undertaken.

Access for less mobile people?- Everyone would enter from Borrowdale Drive entrance and be met by artists for guided tours around the sculpture trail.

Votes for the artist proposals to go forward

It would be contained and controlled and supervised. Members would volunteer their plots for art pieces.

Votes for the project: the majority of the members were in favour of the scheme.

5.8 Thanks

We sometimes forget the infrastructure that exists on the site and would like to give sincere thanks to all the volunteers who do so much work on the allotments, particularly Pete Griffin; Maurice Atkins; David Elliot, Mervin Payne; Nick Bond, Phil Heritage; Craig and Joan Seton; Andy Brooks, David James, and everyone else.

Volunteers who run the new equipment hire hut; Alex McCormack, Mark Fairbairn, Nick and Sonya Bond, Alex and Georgie Haldane, Hanae Gourier & Sam McMurtry.

The newly formed plot letting group managed by Rosie Tucker and including Tim Robbins, Geraldine Parker, Rebecca Collins, Susan Rasmussen.

Rosemary Beal for the Butterfly Sanctuary

The community hut volunteers for today’s tea and cake and all efforts Alison Cathcart and Paula Barraclough-Fox for organising the whole year.

Bonny Landsborough for managing the seed scheme.

Pete Griffin for the farmyard manure.

Tristan Stephens for website.

Catherine Levack for maintaining the Facebook page.

Martin Hurst for hosting Committee meetings.

The knowledge and support provided by members such as Pete and David

Committee members Martin, Meg, Jo and Tristan and especially Robin, the former Chairman, for his sensible points of view and his continuing committee membership.

A special mention to David Wright for his help over the year on many projects including major hedge trimming, major site clearance, equipment repair and rental, helping plot-holders and for developing the current membership systems and creating the email addresses we use for the plot rental and equipment hire.All of these people help make the site run smoothly, so thanks very much.

6. Treasurer’s Report – Martin Hurst

[Not shown on website version but available to Members on request.]

7 Membership Secretary’s Report – Tristan Stephens

The new plot letting group have taken charge of letting out plots to new plotholders.

Tristan is still in charge of the email list so if you do not receive regular emails, please let him know at

There are 148 people on the email list for 141 plots as some people have helpers or a spouse on the email list.

10 people don’t have an email address, they are sent letters.

If people change their addresses, please let Tristan know.

Please read the emails as they have information about the society.

If anyone is going to leave the society, please let us know so we can pass on the plot.

Un-let plots number seven and a half.

Only five people gave up this year.

8 John Shuttleworth Cup

This cup was created in memory of Society member John Shuttleworth.

Last year’s competition was to grow the longest runner bean. The winner was Daniel Stone.

This year the competition is to go back to a past theme which was very popular- an allotment scarecrow.

Judging and the winner to be announced in September.


Some reminders:

Please have a look around the plots to see what other people are doing.

It is the plot holder’s responsibility to keep the paths cut and clear and to keep the plot in good shape.

Do not put any rubbish into the concrete bunkers, they are for chippings and bark only. Please don’t leave rubbish on the sharing tables. Only produce that others might be interested in.

Please close the Borrowdale Drive gates when you exit.

Please do not give the gate combination to non-members. This code will be changing when the vehicular gate is installed.

We have seven plots free so ask friends if they are interested. Question, could we put a notice on the board about the vacant plots? Yes.

Inviting people to volunteer to support the site; equipment hire and plots could use volunteers. We are interested in people helping out with the next year’s centenary plans, people who are interested in joining the Committee.

Susan- Tadpoles are in the pond. There is an article about the site in Leamington in Bloom publication. Also, suggest a proposal that the society goes organic. Answer: currently the Society is not requiring organic only, but the Committee strongly encourages it. This will be reviewed in future.

Question about having a beehive- told it was not something that he could do- due to stings etc. Is this a rule? Answer: bees are potentially allowed with express decision from the Committee. We have had bees in the past but not in an appropriate spot. There are rules which apply- high fencing to encourage bees to fly up. Potential beekeepers need to be a qualified.

Thanks to everyone for attending the AGM.

Martin wanted to give special thanks to Kristen for all the hard work.

10 Close of meeting

Meeting closed at 12:10.

Tristan Stephens

Binswood Allotment Society Secretary