Minutes of Meeting of the Committee of Tilehurst Allotments Society:  Monday 12 June 2017

 Present: Dave Griffiths (chair) , Colin Robinson, Jenny  Cottee (sec) , Deborah Dadd ,William Macphee, Phil Smith

Apologies:    Mary Bartlett (membership, secretary) David Elton, Carine   Guenand, Karen Fidler


 We agreed the minutes of the meeting 24 April (previously circulated) were correct, and we agreed the  agenda  .


Reports from Officers -items that will not come up later in the Agenda 

(I) Sad news Jenny reported that Sue Sheppard had contacted her saying that Peter had sadly died after a shotrt illness-. she would be vacating plot PD3. Jenny had forwarded message to Stephanie .

(ii) Communication issues We had not received any news from Stephanie (Clerk to the Charity)   for this meeting or in response to outstanding matters such as   waiting list, plot lettings , site inspection, requested tree work) since the last committee meeting. We have, however, identified the names and contact details of the new tenants of plot AB1a-it did not appear that a general open event had occurred . It was disappointing that the new tenants were not on the waiting list Stephanie had sent us on 19.03 2017 (consisting of 20+ people). Tenants regularly report that attempts to contact her (by email or phone) have not been successful. We have continued to pass messages to her .

(iii)Letting vacant plots- we decided to repeat the offer to help with lettings- with the aim of shifting the backlog and get tenants looking after plots.  There are various people who can be  available  to help show tenants the plots, explain matters, pass on paperwork and  payment .It seems worth trying.


Plot needs prompt letting



Keep on trying


Deborah  contact Stephanie


Site Matters . Jenny reported  that there had been problems between a plot holder and the beekeeper  Matters seem to be on the way to resolution- number of hives is now nearer a realistic figure for honey produced for  personal consumption ;the plot holder has organised and secured agreement to a mutually advantageous plot-swap with another plot holder. We discussed the role of the Society in such matters and agreed that there is no formal role and we do not wish to undertake one. We can influence e.g. through the 'respect' poster, informal discussion and passing on messages is the extent of involvement.


Overgrown Plots a) where they are and what to do Committee members had considered the state of cultivation of plots and listed both  the vacant plots and  those with tenants,  with a view to reducing  nuisance  and improving the chances of plots being let. We decided to make   a start and review progress. The simplest   approach is to get the long grass cut down (brush cutter or strimmer?) and get the plot let immediately. Hopefully the tenant would obtain material to cover the plot. This could be associated with the employee volunteer scheme.


We considered 15 plots with tenants, noting about 15 in a bad state. We agreed 2 to be the target for initial discussion with the tenants-Tenants with very overgrown plots could be contacted- asking what are their intentions, would they agree to their plot being tackled .We discussed possibility of TAS paying for some strimming – agreed in broad principle on a trial basis if agreement of tenants obtained .We will need to discuss levels of payment etc if possibility becomes firmer


8 vacant plots- most in very bad state. We identified priority for attention In employee volunteering scheme (see below)

 Jenny sound out tenants then consult with ctty


Events since last meeting (I) Spring Get Together- attendance disappointing (12 ) but it was very good- lots of positive feedback  Aim to spread the word and repeat next year. Thanks Dave.

(ii) League of Friends of RBH show.. Excellent result. Really skilled team and some welcome newbies. All were excellent  We need to book 2 pitches next year to permit circulation round the selling area. We decided not wish to request location near THA. Comments to organisers – pitch size in practice smaller than advertised.  Can they avoid school half term? Perhaps arrange that   plot holders who potentially will pick up left-overs are asked to help take any unsold items to the car-park. Many hands needed at exhausting day...

(iii) Respones to RBC Draft Local Plan consultation we had agreed the essence of the TAS response re   proposed use of the land owned  by the Tilehurst Poor's Land Charity by electronic  discussion. Jenny had sent in the final version ( with some minor modifications to the preamble)  . There remained a few days for individuals to respond.  A revised draft is scheduled for later in 2018-  so further consultation will take place before submission and public inquiry by inspector.

i) remember in 2018

ii) Book 2 pitches Swap info re what being grown for sale. Aim for plants in flower Tell organisers pitch size concerns.  consider end of day tactics

 keep alert for next consultation possibly sept/october


Forthcoming Events (I) Employee volunteering-  Deborah reported that all is in hand   2 teams    from the Prudential Wed 7 July and Friday 19 July. She will meet representatives of the firm   that organises the scheme soon. Jenny and she will meet   talk through practicalities and detailed tasks also on site. Work will happen In car park (probably 7 July   and  Kog plot ( 19 July) and the various vacant plots to be cleared. To prevent deterioration of vacant plots after employees work we propose immediate letting                                                                                                                                      (ii) AGM/autumn get together Thursday 28 September.  We considered outline arrangements to go  in  Sept Dig it.. Remembering we expect new tenants ,waiting list people, as well as 20 year veterans we will suggest Colin Cairns explains about the Charity and the difference between it and the Society a. Unlikley to get many questions- actions don’t always reflect responses. A speaker would be good- talk by  Gurkha  Assn representative was good last year. possibly repeat short talk about bees.  Another quiz would be good- takes about 20 minutes informative and fun-more popular than competition. also quic input re Town meal. We hope for the usual facility to pay rent- although other methods welcome 

Deborah confirm arrangements with Stephanie              jenny contact kog tenants                 Jenny repeat invitation via Stephanie, Check when last Bee talk.    All pass on ideas re speaker/topic  asap

Dave buy quiz


Dig it  Copy date Friday 25 August -September edition with accounts summary AGM agenda etc for mailing with rent notices


 Dates : AGM Thursday 28 Sept.7.30pm  Next TAS  committee meeting Monday 18 September 7.30pm


Dave  closed the meeting at 8.45pm,


Minutes of Meeting of the Committee of Tilehurst Allotments Society: 

Monday 24 April 2017

 Present: Dave Griffiths (chair) ,Carine  Guenand,, Jenny  Cottee (sec) , Deborah Dadd  ,William Macphee

Apologies:    ,Chandra Burathoki & Peter Beard ,Mary Bartlett (membership, secretary) David Elton, Colin Robinson


 We agreed the minutes of the meeting 20 March (previously circulated) were correct, an that the draft agenda covered the items we needed to consider


Reports from Officers : Jenny   Gurkha tenants need info re keys after one locked in -Peter and Chandra will liaise with Stephanie and ensure all know the system.  Locking the gates seems problematic- sometimes left open overnight.  There had been a problem re too easy to slip chain over the post- now sorted

Jenny  and  Mary had cross-checked data with that received  from Stephanie,; most issues clarified, but others have emerged

There remain 7 vacant plots (3 vacant for more than 18 months) and 20 on the active waiting list


Jenny: Put notice on both gates


Updates ;  Landlord  We have not received any news from Stephanie about the letting event she reported as planned to take place before 3 April, the site inspection reported to take place Sat 22 April., nor arrangements for crown reduction of nuisance Ash tree(s)


Site news;(i) Lost and found various  items- probably caught in the wind

(ii)    Manners poster: Copies on boards--Carine pass  technical stuff  to T AS for possible future use

(iii)  youths drinking   and drugs some damage to property on site  and nuisance to Polsted Rd residents. Happens after midnight- 1.30am Saturday night. PCSO only available til 10.30pm and too many urgent tasks to cover. We discussed best approach if buildings impossible to lock  -e.g. greenhouse- leave note saying please clear up and don't damage plants approach has worked in the past

(iv)    Water tap  AB 13 repaired

(v) Employee volunteering-Deborah reported excellent progress- Prudential have agreed the three tasks, details being sorted out, so progress soon

(vi)    Mervyn's bench. We selected the bench, (£378 The Reston-made of re-cycled plastic)  plaque wording has been agreed with Mervyn's family, next step will be to get the car park area clear- and concrete base ready -( employee volunteers)

Inquire re alternative dates

Advise use Facebook, notice board

thanks Carine


Police say plot holders secure and lock everything Polsted Rd residents call 999 and 101

thanks peter


Deborah,  more news members meeting jenny contact RBC re size of chipping bay(s)


Members Get Together Thursday 11 May:7.00-9.00pm -(members and waiting list people)

 we sorted out arrangements-  Dave will be M.C.  Tables as discussed,  quiz ,use back wall for screen,opportunity to chat  pass on ideas to ctty  e.g. about competitions /social event  or other matters...( on individual  prompt/feedback sheets ) . Swop  plants  at a half way slot  .spare plants to go to show for sale et  

PUBLICITY- 2  mail shots- a) immediate b) with poster- supplied by Carine  also Facebook and on site posters


Jenny do info sheet re   issues for  TAS in New Local Plan

Deborah buy supplies-e.g. crisp plastic tumblers

Carine prepare feedback sheets- jenny print copies

jenny ask Karen do tas Facebook profile so TAS message sent out...


Police have your say meeting:  we will suggest 10.00am on one of the following Saturday mornings-in the car park:  20 May,10June 17 June (but none worked with the police, so

late news : 'Have your say' meeting with Police  for plot holders and Polsted Rd residents fixed to be Sat 13 May 10-12 noon at noticeboard near Polsted Rd entrance

Jenny to liaise,

then publicize


Issues for Tas regarding the updating   the RBC New local Plan  (to cover the period up to  2036). We noted that TAS focussed on   preservation of all facilities on the current allotment site, and  promoting allotments generally within the borough- so issues relating to land no longer let as allotments( chapel hill, and the  reserved lands) are also within the remit. 

The  consultation will run  28 April- 9 June (send letters , emails of comment  preferably suggesting changes to wording ) .The consultation draft Local Plan will be on www.reading.gov.uk/readingldf

we examined some extracts of  an earlier draft of the paper , but will wait until consultation before starting.


Email discussion  so  information ready for 11 May meeting

we may need to divide up tasks...


Dig IT 76  last edition-excellent, future editions  COPY DATE  for Edn 77 :Tues 16  May (Get together outcomes , Show 3 June, employee volunteers etc)  and  for Edn 78 Friday 25 August  to be ready for Stephanie by suet 5 sept (AGM,  Town meal ) .



AOB  ; AGM Thursday 28 Sept.

next tas committee meeting Monday 12 June



Dave  closed the meeting at 8.55pm,


Minutes of Meeting of the Committee of Tilehurst Allotments Society: 

Monday 30January 2017

 Present: Dave Griffiths (chair) Colin Robinson,, Carine  Guenand, Jenny  Cottee (sec) ,Mary Bartlett (membership secretary)  David Elton,  Deborah Dadd  , Chandra Burathoki & Peter Beard (both from Gurkha Association)

Apologies: William  Macphee, Phil Smith, Karen Fidler (Treasurer)-Jenny's fault wrong date on paper.... Stephanie Keighley ( agent of the Trustees of TPLC)



Dave welcomed Chandra and Peter to the meeting to the meeting   We agreed that the minutes of the meeting . Monday 21 November 2016 which had been circulated soon after the meeting .


Reports from Officers:  Dave reported excellent progress in updating the database , and that future use of  comparison facility in the software will reduce work. There remain a few mysteries to be tackled.

We need to encourage clarification when plot-partners ask to go on the waiting list (as an insurance policy)- they may cause future no-show problems if  info not recorded by  Stephanie and TAS

Mary reported   she is in contact with Stephanie about discrepancies between   tplc waiting list regarding both some  wishing to be removed and others who only appear in one list

Jenny reported showing  2 PCSO some problematic areas on the site that day and will contact Danni about current incidents- some trouble (pierced holes in a tunnel) and possibly relating to past problems -need to maintain liaison


Carine - PC4a


Mary pass on info re plot-partners to Stephanie,  add to tas records


Arrange site meeting with PCSO  perhaps  April.


Report from Charity (i) Stephanie had reported a letting event on Sat 28 Jan-but unfortunately none of the 6 people invited had arrived. She plans another event   on 11 Sat Feb. (time tbc). She has not invited TAS presence, but we thought it might be helpful – Colin plans to be available on site. 

Regarding non- attendance we think it might improve matters if people on the waiting list who are there for 'insurance purposes' as plot-partners , but who don't have an urgent need for a separate plot were clearly indicated on the database.

(ii)     other matters reported in para 4

(iii)     no response regarding confusion re plot letting AB19  reported at previous meeting, now more serious complications. 

Jenny ask stephanie   details of letting event  11 feb , pass on to colin.

 See action para 2


Site Updates a) Site Plan -  we noted the site plan   and   noted that  Stephanie had indirectly reported 2 further resignations leaving about 7 or 8 vacant plots.

 A regrettable confusion has occurred regarding plot AB19b which appears to have been erroneously let to a tenant whilst still let to another. We discussed how this situation should best be resolved and a solution to suggest was agreed. Chandra will inform one tenant an we suggest that Stephanie informs the longstanding tenant.  


b)  Rubbish : PD8t  although vacant is not yet  suitable for letting – disgraceful accumulation of stuff .  Disposal will be costly and cause delay- Stephanie is investigating and consulting about what is best.

We discussed best ways of dealing with bulky accumulation of rubbish. The first of thing is to discourage bringing it on site without clear purpose/need (No need for lots of tyres).  Next  find ways to offer to others to use. Disposal/land fill is very expensive -possibly Hippo bags least expensive. There is no dumping area anywhere on site . Keep your own rubbish on your own plot ( covered and hidden). If we find a large problem  TAS will  review, consider how to tackle- especially  considering the needs of bus/cycle users who  inherit stuff. ? Encourage  others to help? But  n.b.  RBC stringent rules  . On-site bins have been removed due to unsuitable usage. We need to remind people no RESCUE clean up facilities in March this year-


c)              Promoting good communication between Nepalese and other families on allotment site.  Thanks to Chandra  we have individuals names on the plan and have correctly differentiated given-names and surnames. Many plotholders  have the  surname  Gurung.  Some simple words and phrases will help  eg hello ,but all are learning English- different levels of confidence/shyness.    Aim for friendly conversation about what is happening etc.

 Chandra and Peter will pass on   queries and requests eg we discussed   availability of public toilets

Chandra and Peter  were pleased to be invited to the committee meeting and  accepted the invitation to be co-opted members


d)  We discussed the matter of allotment manners- not walking on other people’s plots, asking OK to use their space (eg manure delivery). Whilst all is ( probably) contained in the welcome pack there seems to a need for ever-present reminder. We noted the suggestion of a noticeboard summary in large enough font for visibility. Jenny had produced a wordy version. Needs to be briefer, but more comprehensive


e)  Employee volunteering Deborah  had not received  the anticipaed   response from the Trustees regarding the ‘in principle’ agreement and and  paperwork. However she will  try to ensure minimal delay   so that  application to join the scheme can progress


   Jenny pass on to Stephanie for urgent action  so gardening can resume asap



Noticeboard and Dig it reminders and

Cttee talk  with plot-holders and check out plots in their blocks  to report to next meeting


 Poster and Dig It




Chandra  then Dig it


Chandra check

 Dave add  to cttee hotmail list

jenny pass on contacts

Carine  will attempt a first draft -using welcome pack as aide-memoire


Deborah and Charity


Next steps Mervyn Bench- we noted the current situation , and agreed that the matter could be safely entrusted to  a sub-group to decide .They may refer matters to the main committee if they feel necessary, but it is not required.  The total budget £400 seems adequate but if  necessary could be e increased after committee agreement. Colin and Deborah agreed to take on the task . Jenny had informed  the Tayler  family that the matter was in hand .Thanks Colin and Deborah  -please ont hesitate to ask for help as /if needed.





Get Together  Thursday 11 May .7.00-9.00pm  We decided that this event would include a quiz , and plant/seedling sale ( not too extensive because we also want to raise funds at the show on Victoria rec  sat 3 June ) .We suggest sitting at tables- (probably about 6 tables ) we have 6 bottles of wine donated by grateful plot-holder, will people to bring   some more- want minimal disruption so all can participate- no tea-slaves in the galley

   Dave purchase quiz , Dig It - Details   next meeting


Dig It  copy date  Monday 27 March : content : advertising the get together, a few Nepalese phrases ( pronunciation too? )



 Facebook- public access or not ?  Carine raised the question- does public access  deter plot-hoolders from using our face-book page? If it is to be a well-used resource people need to feel comfortable about what is in the public domain. 

Those who use face-book agreed that it would be worth a trial of increased privacy to see if usage increased.  

M ary and Karen are I/c facebook and will arrange a trial  to see what is most useful to members





Mary and Karen


 NEXT MEETING  Monday 20 March Agenda : Dig it content, get together, Show, police on site meeting, Rubbish situation,



Dave  closed the meeting at 8.50pm, thanking all for their attendance and contributions- good progress on tricky issues