Present:         Mike Adams (chairman)

                        Carey Randall (secretary)

                        Chris Ratcliffe (treasurer)

Joyce Ratcliffe, Samatha Ratcliffe, Michaela Ratcliffe, Sandra Taylor, Jim Taylor. Ann Bishop, Tony Bishop, Steve Roberts, Tim Brierley, Pauline Boilton, Colin Bolton, Irene Costigan, Andy Costigan, Joe Chamberlain, Derek Watson, Laura Beesley, David Beesley, Julia Bullock, Ken Bullock, Steve McNichols, Roy Tongue, Tom Percival, David Cam


  1. Apologies


    Received from: Julia Kindon, Ken Harrison, and Robert Peters


    Chairman’s Opening Statement


    Mike thanks everyone for coming.  He said that our new venue in Woolston Sports and Social was a vast improvement on the previous venues we had used.  He went on to explain that our previous secretary, Shirley Edwards, had resigned for personal reasons, and that Carey Randall had kindly volunteered to fulfil the role.  He was complimentary on her progress to date.

    Mike mentioned the wild flower ‘corner’ that has been establised on Battery Lane.  Everyone agreed that it looks superb.  We have been lucky in having a mild winter which has meant that many of the plants have survived from last year.  Ann Bishop thanked everyone who had helped to make it. Mike has sown some shade loving wild flowers in a suitable spot and we will wait to see if they do as well.


  2. Minutes of Last Meeting


    Were read and approved.  Proposed by Jim Taylor, Seconded by David Cam


  3. Matters Arising


    Julia Bullock asked what if anything has happened about getting a quote for cutting the trees at the south boundary of the site.  Carey replied that the Council cannot afford to do it and it is, therefore, very unlikely to be done.  Minutes were approved by Tony Bishop and seconded by Derek Watson.


  4. Secretary’s Report


    This is the first AGM where I have been secretary of the Association.  When Shirley resigned I was a bit slow to step back and found myself volunteering.


    As some of you may have noticed, I am doing things somewhat differently to Shirley.


    I have had a number of meetings with David Pendleton, all of which have gone well.  He wants to have a site inspection, with me, on a monthly basis during the growing season.  We now have a waiting list for plots and he intends to get the vacant plots allocated as soon as possible after his return from holiday, which is tomorrow (8th June).  He has plot 14 and the top of plot 17 to split between the applicants.  As usual priority will be given to retired or unemployed people.


    It is the Council’s intention to make sure that any working partners that are taken on in future also live in Woolston.


    It is also the Council’s intention to take a tougher stance with those who do not properly cultivate their plots.  Before you all say that you have heard this before, lets see where it goes.


    The annual rent for the plots will now be collected in advance, so expect a rent demand in the coming weeks.  The rent will be going up because the cost of supplying water to the site is rising.  On the subject of rent payments, the Council will only accept cheques and postal orders – no cash.  If anyone has a problem because their bank no longer issue cheques, I am happy to pay the rent for you – as long as you give me the cash first, of course.


    David has also said that we should not be judging the ‘best allotment’ etc ourselves, and that it must e done be an independent third party.  He said he would ask Colin Stretton if he will do it.  (this is the gentleman who is a gardening expert and comes on inspections with David)


    We have had a few problems.  The first is with persons unknown fly tipping rubbish into the horse field.  This is a very serious matter, not to mention against the law.  It is only be pure chance that one of the animals has been injured by broken glass or sharp implements.  I am sure I do not have to remind you that NO rubbish should be dumped in the horse field, or anywhere else on the site.  A reminder will be coming out with the next rental demand.


    The second problem occurred when we had a break in over a weekend, and we got the police involved.  Unfortunately they felt that they had insufficient evidence to pursue the person we thought responsible.  However, recently there have been more thefts – unconnected with the initial incident.  The issue of site security is a separate item on the agenda and will be discussed later.


    The third problem is with giant hogweed.  I discovered a large plant on Chris Corrigan’s plot (22B).  David Pendleton wrote to him (as he is not a member of the Association) and it seems to have been dealt with.  There is a tarpaulin over it and it was looking very sickly last time I took a peek underneath the covers.  I then noticed a baby plant on Alan Forster’s plot, which Jeff kindly dealt with straight away.  I cannot emphasise enough just how horrible tis plant can be if you touch it.  It is entirely possible that more seedlings will appear as it is rife on No 1 & 2 beds across the river.  I have brought along some samples of our native hogweeds – which are completely harmless.  If you find a suspect plant that does not look like one of these, and you are not sure, don’t touch it and please let me know. 


    May I remind everyone that you should not be using weedkiller anywhere except on your own plot.  The communal areas are sprayed by Roy, with the agreement of the committee.


    On to happier matters.  I ran a quiz last October which seemed to go down well, so I intend to do the same this year.  Chris will book this room and we will let you know of the date.  The coffee morning/barBQ etc have not happened.  If anyone wants to raise social events in AoB we can discuss what we might do going forward.


    Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the general upkeep of the site.  Special mention must go to Joe, Kevin, and Roy.


  5. Treasurer’s Report


    Chris reported that we have a healthy bank balance of £2,602.51  funds have improved due to not having to pay for our meeting venue and not hosting a cheese and wine event after the AGM and quiz.  The accounts have been audited by Laura Beesley, and Laura will continue to do the new set of accounts when they are ready.  Chris thanked her for her hard work and time.


  6. Election of Officers


    We have nine committee members, including the officers.  There are no vacancies.  The meeting re-elected the committee en masse. Proposed by Ann Bishop and seconded by Sanda Taylor.


  7. Ratification of New Start Date


    When Carey too over as secretary, the new GDPR rules prevented her from taking over all the records of existing members from Shirley.  The committee decided that it would be beneficial to bring the collection of the £5 annual fee forward to 1st August wqhich would allow Carey to gather address and email data at the same time as requesting payment. The early payment also means that we have the funds in hand to pay the insurance premiums at the start of January.  However, according to our Constitution, the change to the start of the Association year required ratification at a General Meeting of the members.  This was proposed by Laura Beesley and seconded by Steve McNichols and carried unanimously.


  8. Site Security


    There have been a number of petty thefts from various plots over the past couple of months or so.  We do not know if an outsider is coming onto the site or if one of the plot holders is responsible. Caery suggested that we keep the outside gate locked at all times, for a trial period of one month.  a heated discussion followed    The proposal was seconded by Joe Chamberlain and went to the members.  Proposal defeated 11 to 9.


  9. Weeds Along Plot Joint Boundaries (Julia Kindon)


    Julia had asked this to be raised as one of the plot holders adjacent to her plot allows nettles.  It was generally agreed that all plot holders should keep their boundaries weed free.  If there is a problem, they should ask the offending plot holder politely to clear the weeds.  If there is no, or an unsatisfactory response, then the committee should be informed. 

    On the same subject, it was asked that no shrubs, trees or other obstructive plants be allowed to grow over the main roadways.  This is to prevent scratched paintwork on passing vehicles and to make it easier for Kevin to mow the grass.

    The meeting asked that pruning of plants near the roadways should be part of theTenancy Agreement.  Action CR AGM 19.1



  10. BLAA Website (Eileen McCarthy)


    Eileen asked if our website could be up to date.  It looks like it hasn’t been changed since around 2013.  We needed someone with some knowledge of websites and David Beesley very kindly volunteered to do it.


  11. Skip Hire (Eileen McCarthy)


    Eileen asked if it would not be a good idea to have a rubbish skip at intervals to help clear the rubbish that had been left by previous tenants.  The meeting was informed of what happened last time we had a skip.  It was a huge beast that was quickly filled by tenants and we suspect local householders and overflowed to such an extent that the committee had to remove much of the rubbish and take it to the local tip themselves.  It is the tenant’s task to dispose of all rubbish and waste from thei rplot and take it to the local tip.


  12. AoB


  1. Chris pointed out that when he came on site at 06:00 recently two hosepipes were attached to standpipes and had been left running.  If the council find out about this we will have are water supply cut off entirely.  It must be emphasised that hosepipes must only be used to fill water butts or held by HAND to water crops.   No sprinklers.

  2. Carey raised social events.  There is little appetite for outdoor events like a BBQ since the weather is so big a factor in their success.  She suggested having a games night at the Woolston Club, with cribbage and dominoes etc.  This didn’t seem to go down well and the meeting asked for a second quiz instead.  Action CR AGM 19.2

  3. Steve McNichols asked about getting a Kings Seed catalogue.  Chris pointed out that they would be in the shop and he would put a notice on the main gate as soon as they were available.

  4. There was general discussion about getting tenants off the site if they let their plots go.  This has been going on as long as any of us can remember and it was generally thought the council would do nothing for fear of being sued.  Ken Bullock suggested that a number of us attend one of the Council surgeries that take place on a Wednesday evening to complain in person.


    Meeting closed at 20:40





Action Number






Get shrub pruning on agreement




Arrange second quiz









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