December 6th 2017 at St Michaels Parish Room, started at 7.45.
Present - Anne Macdonald*, Brian Songhurst, Guy Marshall, Kathryn Rathouse, Richard Cloutman*, Panos Parissis, Dick Field, Nigel Gale, Bob Grover*.
(* means on the current committee)
Apologies – Ken Kenward, Liz Rolfe, Maurice Lyon, Ron Askew, Barry Cropper, John Dixon, Peter and Kate Crick.
Chair Report (Bob Grover)
2017 has seen some substantial achievements of FLAG as a group. We paid for cutting down an inherited eucalyptus tree and we burned large amounts of its leaves and smaller branches (very therapeutic). We finally achieved our gateway into Oysterfields, which has improved relations with people from the estate. We had a successful BBQ in September. Our biggest success was to stop the council’s attempt to push through a large rent increase; this involved massive cooperation with most of the other allotment sites across St Albans to show the Council the strength of feelings.
The Council have told us they are about to replace the fencing to Thornton Street to stop trespassing, after complaints from householders there.
Treasurer/membership report (Richard Cloutman)
FLAG is at a record strength, we have 61 members (out of a possible 80+ plotholders). We have about £300 in hand. Subscriptions will be kept the same in 2018 at £7.50 per member; this covers third-party insurance for your plot and NSALG membership (primarily for the Kings Seeds scheme).
Site Steward report (Anne Macdonald).
We have 9 new plotholders this year, about the usual turnover. We bought one good manure delivery and a second not-so-good one. We have renewed several signs around the site. Lots of small tasks have been carried out by Anne and her Assistant Site Stewards. It all helps the site to work together smoothly!
Elections of Officers. Our two officers are Bob and Richard, both were re-elected.
Anne was re-elected as Site steward. Anne’s deputy stewards were not identified individually though they generally indicated they were happy to be part of that group.
Kathryn Rathouse maintains the NSALG link to get Seed catalogues and update our insured-members list.
Brian Songhurst volunteered to take over the Steel Shed and to continue with his water maintenance duties, as ‘Site Facilities Operative’.
AOB and current problems and issues on site
We have had far less vandalism reported this year, let’s hope it keeps that way once the Thornton Street fence is fixed.
BUT PLEASE STAY VIGILANT! If you have any damage, or any confrontation troubles with trespassers, PLEASE report it to the Police, get a Crime Number and tell Anne and Brian Songhurst so they can log it for our records. It gives us the documented contemporary evidence we would need to influence Councillors and Police.
Green waste pile – Nigel has put up notices reminding people to throw their waste further back on the pile.
We intend to clear woody materials, not really suitable for the green waste pile, and burn it at the Bonfire.
Kathryn Rathouse is a Master Composter. Anyone who needs advice on any aspect of composting should talk to her, she loves to share her expertise.
There are several (free) builders bags available on site; you can use one as the first stage of setting up a heap, she has many more ideas that all work!
Kathryn offered to spread the gospel of Composting to anyone who was interested. This could become a formal committee post in the future.
Pallets are also great for compost bins; if you find any available from skips etc please bring them to the site (or ask a committee member with a bigger car for help with carrying them).
Anne will ask the leaf men if it is possible to deliver some loads to the upper area of the site, by the woodchip area already there.
Working party intentions:
Partition the leaf area so we can still access old leaves while having a bigger area for new leaves. (DONE at December’s Bonfire Working Party)
Clear out the steel shed – identify and recycle broken and redundant tools and equipment; clean up and reorganise the space; identify any good equipment that needs mending and get it done; then issue a list of jointly owned FLAG equipment to all members; how we might lend equipment out (with guidance); how to get a key if you haven’t got one.
Keep the BBQ site cleared, ready for a BBQ in the Summer
Kathryn will see if it is possible to get access to some of the very old well-rotted compost which lies underneath the green waste pile – it would need a small digger and a large-scale riddle of some sort, we might have to build one!
Kathryn also knows a source of good quality horse manure if we had access to a strong trailer. She will discuss this with our gardening contractor plotholder.
Keep the green waste pile free of woody material that would be better burned.
King’s Seed Catalogues are still available in the clubhouse, please take one and put in your seed order for the Spring – it isn’t far away! Remember to mention FLAG.
The Oysterfields path is getting a bit slippery, both at the bottom of the new concrete stairs and on the driveway to the street.
Anne will write to the Council pointing this out and warning them of the danger of a mum and child falling over.
Meeting ended 9.15pm.