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Minutes 2013 AGM

Minutes 2013 AGM

Binswood Allotment Society

Binswood Allotment Society

Minutes of the 92nd Annual General Meetind held on Tuesday 19th March 2013, 7.30pm, Old Milverton Village Hall.


M.Astell, M.Atkins, D.Beckett, D.Bradley, K.Brandon, W.Britton, P.Burtonshaw, M.Carrier, J.Carrier, A.Cathcart, R.Cathcart, R.Chahal, D.Elliot, A.Foster, P.Griffin, C.Griffin, P.Johnson, R.King, K.Lawrence, J.Liddlemore, L.Phillips, B.Sanderson, C.Schweighart, T.Stephens, M.Van Rooyen, R.Ward, R.Wesson.


1 Apologies

2 Minutes of previous meeting

3 Chairman’s report

4 Treasurers report

5 Secretaries report (including membership)

6 Presentations (John Shuttleworth Cup and retiring committee members)

7 Revisions to the Bye Laws

8 Any other business


9 Talk-John Carrier

10 Close of meeting

Robin Cathcart introduced himself and the other members of the committee present.

1 Apologies

R.Beal, J.Bennet, M&L.Cawthorne, J.Dean, A&B.Hingley, M.Hurst, B.Landsborough, C.Levack, T.Parsons, T.Walter.

2 Minutes of previous meeting

  1. a.       No comments were raised on the previous year’s minutes. Acceptance of the minutes was proposed by P.Griffin and seconded by J.Carrier

3 Chairman’s report

  1. a.       Water Tanks. A grant from Leamington Council paid for a new irrigation system and the installation was complete by mid June 2012. This has been a great improvement on the old water baths.
  2. b.      The John Shuttleworth Cup for best sweet peas took place in 1012 with a presentation to be held later in the evening. Details of this year’s competition will follow later.
  3. c.       Last year there was a strong opinion in favour of having a community hut. This concept was thought about and it has now been completed by Ioan Boston with help from Pete and Morris. The flooring is yet to be completed and it is to be a solid gravel floor. Photographs of the renovation are now on the website.
  4. d.      Council Grants. Two funding bids were submitted to the council for a total of £1885. £1385 was allocated to clear asbestos, buildings and scrap from George Crawford’s old plots. This work has commenced and already the asbestos has been removed. The second bid was for £500 towards the purchase of three recycling bunkers for scrap metal, asbestos cement and large items of masonry. These will be located on the site of the soil mounds near the community hut and are due in mid April/May. The purpose is to enable members to clean up their plots by removing scrap metal etc. from them.
  5. e.      It is proposed that there be a carpet amnesty with a skip provided for members to dispose of their old carpet from the plots. The reason being that the Allotment Association is recommending that carpet be no longer used as weed suppressant due to toxins in the fabric. Thoughts are that new members will be able to buy safe weed suppressant from the society at cost price to avoid the use of carpet.

Question from P.Johnson- What is the time scale? R.Cathcart- when the soil mound has been cleared, May/June.

If no objections, a note about the non-use of carpet will be added to the guidance to new plot holders.

  1. f.        Local Plan. A response was submitted that we didn’t like the greenbelt being used based on ecology. It has been acknowledged and we are now on a list of respondents. No more has been heard since; a rumour is that the council wants the planning inspector to become involved.
  2. g.       There is a member’s questionnaire now on the website regarding Fungi.
  3. h.      Thanks to Sheila, Carol and Alison for the refreshments.
  4. i.        The Chairman recognises the fantastic job that Pete, Morris and Dave play in the daily running of the allotment.

4. Treasurer’s Report

  1. a.       The Treasurer’s report was read out by RC in MH’s absence.
  2. b.      2012 rents £12 more.
  3. c.       Equipment hire is down. Reasons may be lack of publicity. A notice will be put on boards and on the website to let members know what is available.
  4. d.      Water charges are up on last year which may be due to loosening of the joints of the new water tanks by persons unknown. The new water supply was funded by the Town Council and we are insured by the Allotment Council.
  5. e.      There is £40 less surplus this year with balance of £1193.

All old equipment was fully depreciated last year.

  1. f.        Fixed assets, hedge cutter, water tanks, which become our property, were depreciated by a third.
  2. g.       The Town Council has had notice that the Heber Percy Estate intends to increase the rent from £2225 to £2488 which will be passed on to us. We have £2600 in budget. If there are no objections we will accept the rate.
  3. h.      Question P.Johnson- the balance is 18 months running costs. Are there any new plans?
  4. i.        Reserved money may be needed for local plan actions, soil removal and access road renovations. The New Milverton association have requested we contribute to these repairs. The reality is that we ought to do this as our lease is on a 12 month renewable basis and if we don’t pay a sensible amount towards the repairs our lease may be in jeopardy.
  5. j.        Treasurers report acceptance proposed P.Jonson , seconded D. Elliot.
  6. k.       Thanks to Martin for being Treasurer.

5 Secretaries report including membership

  1. a.       Tristan Stephens explained that after a delayed start to joining the committee due to not being contactable, he took over the Secretarial role from Christine and later the membership role from Dennis.
  2. b.      Since January offers have gone out on all of the available plots.
  3. c.       Plans are ongoing to revamp the allotment member’s database and tie it into a digital version of the plot layout plan which includes an aerial photograph.

6 Presentations

  1. a.       Sheila Shuttleworth presented the Shuttleworth Cup to Kirsten Lawrence for her sweet peas.
  2. b.      A token of thanks was given to committee member Christine Schweighart who retired from the secretarial position in 2012.
  3. c.       A token of thanks was given to Pete Griffin for being a committee member for over 15 years.
  4. d.      A plaque and token was given in thanks to the wonderful contribution of Dennis Bradley for over 17 years in the committee including 12 years as Chairman. Dennis said it was with the help of John Shuttleworth, Peter and Martin.

7 Revised Bye Laws

  1. a.       An initial draft of the bye laws redrafting was posted on the website. The redraft was then gone through clause by clause to outline the changes and highlight any new changes on the night.
  2. b.      Title. Should the phrase ‘Ex-Service Men’ be retained?
  3. c.       1(d) an extra ‘to’ should be removed.
  4. d.      The word ‘shares’ taken out of 7. The word ‘Joining’ should be added after membership.
  5. e.      10 -Conditions of Head Lease to be removed.
  6. f.        14- took out canopy dimensions. This clause needs further work.
  7. g.       16-New wording designed so every plot has paths. Members are responsible for the paths. No plot is to have a fence or hedge as these cause problems. CS had a question about the maintenance part of the clause and what notes will be given to new members regarding maintenance of existing hedges. Major hedges i.e. those between us and adjacent allotment and adjacent houses need to be maintained. The society now has a hedge trimmer. Questions were raised as to specific varieties of native species should be used to restock major hedgerows.
  8. h.      17 -No livestock. The word ‘ruling’ to be removed.
  9. i.        24 -Remove ‘or on breach of an of the tenants’ agreements’.
  10. j.        25 -Removal of property. Add the phrase ‘or notice of termination’. A specific case was referred to regarding removal of property. Review of this clause is needed to make sure that at the end of the rent year or following notice to leave the plot the guidelines are clear.
  11. k.       Members were asked to vote to agree to the bye-law changes subject to the further changes discussed and that the committee are able to carry out these changes.
  12. l.        Acknowledgement that subject to the changes discussed the new bye-laws are approved. Proposed Dave Elliot seconded Dennis Bradley.
  13. m.    Changes will be reviewed and redrafted by the committee.


  1. a.       Pete- Question about non-cultivated plots. RC the committee allotment site wide walk-arounds will reveal non-cultivated plots. DB said there is precedent for asking people to cultivate their allotments if they are not doing it.
  2. b.      What does cultivate mean? Originally the allotments were for vegetables to feed a family and keep a pig. Traditionally they were just for vegetables. Now members have a more amenity use with flowers and grass grown. It was agreed that Plotholders can do anything horticultural.
  3. c.       Guidance to new members will outline that large varieties of fruit trees would be discouraged as there are many dwarf stock varieties available.
  4. d.      It was agreed to do half yearly inspections. Should there be an April inspection. It was thought that inspections too early in the year would not be of much benefit as the peak growing season is the problem when weeds are at their height.
  5. e.      Cases of non-cultivation should be taken on a case by case basis using common sense as there are often other reasons such as illness which can be a factor.
  6. f.        It was suggested that tours of the site be conducted and the owners telephoned to see if there was a problem.
  7. g.       AGM minutes, should they go on the website? Maybe key points as some aspects should not be in the public domain.
  8. h.      Jewsons and Hintons have special rates for members. Notices to be affixed to the boards outlining the details.
  9. i.        This year’s John Shuttleworth Cup is to be a ‘Potato in a bucket’ contest. Members should plant a household bucket 10 inches in diameter and 10 inches deep with one potato. The winner will be the one with the heaviest crop. Any variety of potato can be used.
  10. j.        Condolences were given to the family of George Crawford who died late last year. He had been an allotment holder for over 50 years.

9 John Carrier Talk

  1. a.       Due to time restrictions, John’s talk did not take place.

10 Close of meeting

  1. a.       The meeting was closed at 9.30 pm

Tristan Stephens

Binswood Allotment Society Secretary