Minutes of Allotment Committee 24 April 2024

MINUTES OF THE ALLOTMENT COMMITTEE OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL MONDAY 24 APRIL 2024 AT THE PARISH COUNCIL OFFICES

 

Members present:

Cllr H Allsopp

Cllr K Burn

Cllr J Foster, (Chairman)

Cllr G Huntley

Cllr P S Vaughan

Cllr L Watson

In attendance:

Mrs A Brindley Parish Clerk, Mr D L Nicholson Deputy Parish Clerk Mr D Iley FO and 14 members of the public

A009/23         1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 Apologies were received from Cllr J Rowell (prior engagement) The meeting agreed that this was a proper reason for absence.

A010/23         2.         MEMBERS’ DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).

No declarations were made

.A011/23         3.         TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE 20 SEPTEMBER 2023

The meeting agreed the minutes represented a true record of the meeting, authorizing that they be signed as such by the Chairman and placed in the public domain.

 A012/23        4.        MATTERS ARISING

 There were no matters arising that were not included on the agenda in the Parish Clerk’s report

 A013/23         5.         LEASE REVISION

Members were requested to confirm the revision to allotment tenants leases that change the tenancy year from April to March to January to December.  New tenant leases already contain the change and existing tenants have been advised in writing of the change.  Current fees have been adjusted to take account of the change.

RESOLVED: that the tenancy year in existing leases changes to January to December

A014/23         6.         REPORT FROM THE CLERK

Plot occupancy

At the end of March there was only 1 plot untenanted, but this has since been taken.

4 plots had not been renewed in April, one has been relet and another prospective tenant was viewing a one the following day.

The remaining two had been rented as a double plot, but may require remedial work to drainage before we relet. The Spring weather has been particularly wet which would have exacerbated any flooding problems, and the Parish Clerk was aware that other plots may have also suffered flooding recently.  Tenants were asked to advise the Council if they considered they had a drainage problem on their plot.

Unadopted land to gates

Most roads are highways responsibility to maintain however both stretches of land leading to allotment gates are classed as unadopted roads and are not maintained by highways.  As reported previously the Parish Council is not responsible for the land.  In previous times there has been remedial work done to fill in the potholes, but this is no lasting solution.  The Parish Council has asked the Northumberland County Council to consider a solution and has asked for a price to bring the land up to adoption standard.

Damage

There has been a report of an intruder gaining entry onto the site one night, they had prised open doors and caused damage to sheds, so far it seems there was nothing of value taken.

 Fuel for heaters in sheds

We have a rule for burning of fires on site only on Wednesdays and Saturdays and ensuring that smoke is not causing a nuisance to neighbours and fellow allotment holders

Recently we have been alerted to the nuisance that smoke through the use of heaters in sheds can cause. It is especially important to ensure compliance as it not uncommon for heaters to burn all day to maintain the temperature in the shed.

The Clerk reported that she had received advice from the Environmental Health officer at NCC on the regulations for heaters with chimneys and had included the advice in a letter to all tenants.  Wood burning can only be used with wood burners   or multi fuel stoves which are on a defra list.  Otherwise only use fuel which is stamped for the use in smoke-controlled areas.

 A015/23        7.         TENANTS OPEN FORUM

 Issues discussed:

Parking at entrance to gates

Both entrances are sometimes blocked by inconsiderate parking by residents.  The north entrance is narrower than the south and it used as access by lorries to collect pigeons.  We have received a complaint from the resident living on the right of the gate, that she has concerns that her gas pipe maybe caught by traffic easing by the parked cars.  We cannot ask residents not to park there however the Parish Clerk has put notices onto the cars requesting they park closer to the left-hand side fence to allow access, and a notice has been placed on the allotment gates requesting that the gates are able to be accessed.

The other gate has a similar problem with cars seemingly abandoned at the entrance, which does not give tenants anywhere to park.  Also, the exit onto the main road is difficult with parked cars obscuring the oncoming traffic. The suggestion to place a mirror at the corner was made and Cllr Foster agreed to propose it to highways.

Willows

Tenants agreed to tackling the problem of the willows with NCC by raising a petition.  The Parish Council will put a form of words on the site for tenants to sign

Unattended allotments

Tenants were concerned that there were a handful of allotments that were not being cultivated.  Unlike an allotment committee, officers are not in attendance on a daily basis and the Clerk accepted that inspections were not on a regular basis.

RESOLVED: The Parish Council would implement a regular audit of the gardens.

Increase in rats

Tenants advised there was a particular problem which was encouraging rat infestation.  The Chair requested that if there was a particular problem with one tenant the most appropriate way to bring this to the Council’s attention would be a direct meeting with officers of the council rather than at a public meeting.  Officers would be available after the meeting to discuss any individual problems.

There being no further business to be transacted the meeting closed at 7.35pm

Chairman………………………………………………      Date………………………