Minutes of the 102nd Annual General Meeting of Kettering Allotments Society 10th March 2020
Present:- T Munt, S Munt, C Hulston, J Burn, H Pope, I Bickle, R Attwood, M Ozdemir, Glenn Cherry, Brian Mitcheson, John Weed, Pat Draper, Dean Haylett
Welcome by the Chairman. A warm welcome to everyone, although attendance was low, perhaps due to the Covid19 virus pandemic.
Minutes of the 2019 AGM were accepted as a true record.
Matters arising from the above. A question was asked about what had been done to construct gates or barriers along ridings at Margaret Road to close them during wet weather. The secretary reported that this had been a priority of the committee throughout 2019. Various designs had been suggested, rejected and modified and expert advice sought. Past experience of temporary barriers has shown that anything that can be easily dismantled will not be respected. One of our committee members has offered to weld and construct the preferred design and another has offered the steel for free. This is very much an ongoing project and we shall continue to pursue it actively in the coming months.
Annual Report of the secretary was presented.
Treasurer's report was presented and the audited accounts were available for scrutiny. Comments to note were that water bills were down considerably from 2018, as there had been more rain; the costs have been well controlled and our funds spent wisely on improving and maintaining our fields. The summary was that expenses and income are well balanced and we have not had to increase rents. Motion to approve the Treasurer's report was carried unanimously by all present.
Election of officers. Motion to re-elect Secretary and Treasurer was carried unanimously by all present. John Burn continues as Treasurer and Russell Attwood continues as Secretary.
Election of committee members. Mr John Negus was elected to the committee unanimously. Retiring members eligible for re-election are Clive Thorley, George White, Ilona Bickle, Monica Ozdemir, Harry Pope. All agreed to stand for re-election and were elected unanimously by all present.
Appointment of auditors. The treasurer proposed that we continue with Baldwins as in previous years. This was accepted and agreed unanimously.
Appointment of solicitors. The secretary proposed that we continue our membership of NSALG as they offer expert legal advice on allotment issues as well as access to other insurance schemes and policies. This was agreed unanimously by all present.
Next AGM. The date is expected to be 9 March 2021, subject to booking the venue.
AOB. The following points were raised by the members present for the committee to consider in its forthcoming meetings:
AGM notices used to be printed and displayed on the gate or notice boards on fields. This year the notice was published online in early February. It was available on our website and through our monthly newsletter on WordPress. Mr Weed questioned this and requested that printed notices be posted on notice boards in future.
Mr Weed complained about the puddles at the second gate at Scott Road and requested that the committee do something about it. Committee members responded that it has been a very wet winter and the wettest February on record. Many plots at Margaret Road had been under water, being close to the river Ise, so worse than Scott Road. The committee had paid for two loads of crushed concrete to be delivered to this gate area but it was not possible to add any more as the gate will not open or close if we do so. Scott Road is on high ground, compared to Margaret Road and Northfield which are close to rivers, but this gate area is in a dip and when standing at the gate it is uphill in every direction, so water drains towards it. The committee will consider this issue further at its next meeting.
Question from Brian Mitcheson about when a plot holder retires and gives up. In the past, stewards have allowed a friend or relative to take over a plot under such circumstances. The relevant rule is rule 8 which states that the stewards and committee treat such cases sympathetically, whilst remaining aware of our waiting list policy. If we ever have a very long waiting list the dynamic might be different to past experience, but we treat each case with discretion and compassion. Meanwhile, if a member is aware of a gradual deterioration in fitness and plans to give up and transfer to a friend or relative, it is suggested that the plot be registered in joint names as co-tenants with the treasurer secretary and field steward. Then when one of the tenants retires, the other can continue. Please note that sub-letting is not allowed.
Question about overgrown plots on Margaret Road. It was noted that we have a clear system for contacting members who neglect their plots, following due process and leading to eventual eviction. Our rules and policies have to be followed, but again some cases demand compassion and discretion. Final warning letters are sent with the note that there is a right of appeal to the committee and we have experienced members on the committee who have served on appeals sub-committees.