Rules

CHESHIRE FIELD ALLOTMENTS

INFORMATION AND RULES (2011)

CHESHIRE FIELD ALLOTMENTS (CFA) RULES

INTRODUCTION

CFA is on the North side of South Access Road, and is divided into 62 plots (which include four half-plots and one plot divided into 5 mini-plots for new comers). Plots are let as full or half size (apart from the five miniplots). A full size plot is 10 square rods (302 square yards; 293 square metres). A half-plot is 5 square rods.

The boundary fences on the North, West and South of the site are the responsibility of CFA. The East boundary (by St James’s Park) should be maintained by the Council but it has proved difficult to enforce this. Plotholders are asked to do everything they can to ensure the fences by their plot are as secure as possible.

All thefts and vandalism must be reported by plotholders to the local Markhouse Neighbourhood Team police on 020 8721 2649 or 07920 233 814 and a crime number obtained. Such reporting will heighten an awareness of the need for security with the police. Because of security problems plotholders are advised not to keep anything of value in their sheds.

The CFA site and other branch sites are leased by the WTAA from the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Among the objects of the WTAA is:

To carry on the business of creating or promoting the creation of allotments or leisure gardens encouraging their proper cultivation…

The aim of the WTAA and of all Branches is to uphold this object. The following rules are intended to help everyone on the site to enjoy their gardening and meet this object.

All previous Rules, by-laws and Standing Orders of the CFA (written or otherwise) are rescinded by the approval of these rules.

Membership of the WTAA

In order to acquire a plot or half plot a plotholder must become a member of the WTAA.

There is only one plotholder per plot.  Other people may, at the request of a plotholder, be listed as working a plot and become associate members of the CFA. Associate members of the CFA are not members of the WTAA.

The business of the WTAA is conducted by a committee which consists of the Officers of the WTAA, three plotholders from each branch, and such further persons as may be appointed by the AGM. The three CFA committee members are the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer of the CFA branch committee.

The WTAA committee meets every two months. Plotholders are entitled to attend WTAA meetings.

The WTAA holds an AGM in April and plotholders are encouraged to attend. Officers are elected by members at the AGM. All plotholders are entitled to stand for election as an Officer of the WTAA. Associate members of the CFA may attend but not vote at WTAA meetings, and are not entitled to stand for election as an Officer.

On joining the WTAA, each plotholder will pay £1 to buy one share and thereafter an annual membership fee (currently 15p), which is included in the other charges. This fee entitles members to purchase goods at one of the WTAA Trading Shops (the nearest is on Low Hall Farm allotments).

The WTAA may expel a member who it deems to have breached the WTAA Rules and/or decisions of the WTAA which could for example endanger other members or bring the name of the WTAA into disrepute such as through legal action or financial penalty or through breach of its lease. Such expulsion may be immediate but is subject to a right of appeal.

A copy of the Rules of the WTAA and minutes of WTAA meetings are available from the CFA Secretary.

CFA Branch Management

Annual General Meeting

An AGM will be held annually, between 1st April and 31st August.

It is the duty of all plotholders to attend the AGM.

At the AGM the meeting shall:

Receive reports from the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer;

Consider any resolutions presented to it;

Set the levels of payment to the CFA for the following year;

Elect the officers and members of the CFA Committee;

Discuss any matters raised by plotholders.

All committee posts are held until the following AGM. Any plotholder or associate member may become a Committee member, but only one person from any one plot may be on the Committee at a time.

Emergency General Meeting

An EGM may be called by a majority of the Committee members, or by not less than 25% of the plotholders requesting one in writing to the Chair.

An EGM must be called if the Committee membership falls below three.

Procedure for General Meetings

14 days notice of the date, time and venue of an AGM or an EGM will be given by email or letter and posted on the notice board.

For the meeting to be quorate there must be a minimum of 10 plots represented, by either the plotholder or an associate member.

One member for each plot (but not a mini-plot) can vote at General Meetings. In the event of any disagreement between members working one plot the listed plotholder has the right to vote as the legally defined shareholder within the WTAA rules. Any resolution put to the meeting will be voted on by a show of hands, on a simple majority. Both plotholders and associate members may vote. If a vote is tied, the Chair has an additional casting vote.

Draft minutes will be placed on the notice boards and circulated by email within 4 weeks of the meeting.

The CFA Branch Committee

Members of the Branch Committee are elected annually at the Branch AGM. The officers are Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Lettings Officer, Bee Keeping Officer, and up to 6 other members.  The Committee has power to co-opt and to fill any vacancies by appointing members of the Committee or co-opting other members as long as those co-opted are not more than one-third of the Committee.

The Committee shall meet at least 4 times a year. The Chair is responsible for setting dates etc, normally giving 14 days notice (by email and posting on the notice board).

All plotholders and associate members are entitled to attend Committee meetings.

The Committee shall deal with all matters relating to the good running and development of the site including:

provision of information to plotholders and associate members;

organising of common equipment, facilities and events of benefit to members;

agreeing and reviewing a budget, including the annual payments to be made by plotholders to the CFA, for approval by the AGM, and collecting all fees payable;

maintaining a system for the allocation of plots to new plotholders, and arranging induction for them;

holding regular plot inspections to identify any plot not being adequately maintained within the rules of the site and taking appropriate action;

provide a report of activities and a financial report to the Branch AGM and to the WTAA AGM;

making arrangements for competitions.

Any resolution put to the meeting will be voted on by a show of hands, on a simple majority. Only Committee members may vote. If a vote is tied, the Chair has an additional casting vote.

Membership of the CFA

All plotholders are members of the CFA, and those who work a plot with them can become associate members of the CFA if the plotholder so requests.

The Treasurer maintains the list of plotholders and associate members.

There can only be one plotholder per household from the date of the adoption of these rules.

A waiting list of people who have registered an interest in becoming a plotholder is maintained by the Lettings Officer. When a plot becomes available, it is given to the next person on the waiting list who wants it. The names of those towards the top of the list are posted on the main notice board

  1. a A plotholder may not let or sub-let any of their plot to another person. If a plotholder wishes to allow someone to work part of their plot on a regular basis they must first inform the Treasurer that they wish the person to be an associate member.

b If a plotholder dies, or is unable to maintain their plot, or wishes to resign as a member, it is within the discretion of the branch committee whether or not an associate member (who has work on the plot long-term) may take over as a plotholder.

Contact details

  1. Each plotholder is responsible for providing their current contact details to the Treasurer (who holds the official list of plotholders on behalf of the WTAA), and advising the Treasurer who is an associate member working their plot. The CFA is not responsible if a plotholder does not receive notifications because they have not provided their current contact details.

Keys

  1. Plotholders must pay a refundable deposit (of an amount agreed by the Committee) for a key or keys. Keys must be returned to the Committee when the plotholder gives up their plot or is expelled.

Payments by plotholders

  1. All payments for the following year must be received by the Treasurer, in advance, by 1st October each year. (The allotment year runs from 1st October).
  2. It will be at the discretion of the Committee to refuse any payment after 1 October. Such a refusal will lead to automatic expulsion as a plotholder.
  3. A Pensioner is a person who has attained State Pension Age before the beginning of the rent year on 1st October. Pensioners pay a reduced rent. Plotholders are responsible for informing the Treasurer if they are pensioners, otherwise full rents will be charged.
  4. The Treasurer will notify plotholders in advance of the payments due, which includes amounts due to the WTAA, rent, branch funds and water rate. The amounts will also be displayed on the Notice Boards.

Expulsions

  1. The Committee, after due consideration, is entitled to send an expulsion notice to any plotholder for breach of any of these rules.
  2. Any expulsion notice will be sent by post to the postal address which has been given under rule 30 above, or by email if an email address has been given.
  3. The effect of an expulsion notice is that from the date of the notice the plotholder is evicted from their plot and ceases to be a member of the WTAA, and any associate member for that plot ceases to be an associate member. All tools and possessions must be removed within 7 days from the date of the expulsion notice, otherwise they may be disposed of by the Committee. At the end of that 7 days, the plot will be re-let.
  4. Plotholders who fail to cultivate their plots, or maintain the path surrounding their plot, to a reasonable standard, will receive a dated first reminder letter or email pointing out the problem. This will allow 14 days to resume active cultivation.
  5. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, plotholders who have failed to respond sufficiently within this time will be sent a second reminder allowing a further 7 days to bring the plot into reasonable cultivation. If the plotholder fails to respond sufficiently within 7 days of the second reminder notice, they will be sent an expulsion notice.
  6. If a plotholder or their associate member has breached any of the other rules, a warning letter will be sent to the plotholder inviting them to a meeting with Committee members to discuss the issue. If the plotholder does not attend the meeting, or if the issue cannot be resolved at the meeting, an expulsion notice will be served on the plotholder.
  7. Once an expulsion notice has been served it cannot be retracted. Appeal against the expulsion notice can be made to a Special Association Committee Meeting of the WTAA, where a decision will be made by a majority vote of the WTAA members present. If a plotholder wishes to appeal, they must advise the WTAA Secretary of this within 28 days of the date of their expulsion notice.

Rules of Conduct on the CFA Site

General Conduct on the site

  1. The site is managed by the CFA Committee and the site’s well-being and smooth running depends on the co-operation of, and voluntary contributions by, all members. Members must at all times act in a manner which is polite, reasonable and considerate to other members. Members must comply with all reasonable requests from the Committee.
  2. In particular, any member caught stealing, carrying out any acts of vandalism, or causing physical abuse, verbal bullying or harassment, will receive a warning letter under rule 41.
  3. Members are responsible for the actions of those they admit to their plot, (including children).

Complaints

  1. The Committee hopes that any disagreements can be handled by informal discussion. However, if a plotholder wishes to make a formal complaint, for whatever reason (including the behaviour of another plotholder or associate member, or by a member of the Committee), it must be forwarded to the Chair in writing and signed by the complainant. If it is against a known person, that person must be named. The matter will then be considered by the Committee at its next meeting (or by the Chair alone if the matter is urgent), and appropriate action taken.

Cultivation of Plots

  1. Plotholders must maintain their plot in a cultivated condition at all times. The Committee is responsible for inspecting plots to ensure that they are cultivated, and carries out regular inspections. The CFA’s guideline is that at least two-thirds of a plot should be under active cultivation.

Health and Safety

  1. Members are responsible for their actions and those of their visitors on the site, and for the safety of anyone on the site. Members are requested, particularly if they have children with them, to ensure that nothing on their plot or path presents a hazard to them or anyone else.

Apiary

  1. An apiary area is situated at the back of Plot 4. Subject to the agreement of the Bees Officer and to space being available, Plotholders who have the necessary qualifications may keep a bee hive there. CFA has drawn up detailed guidelines for keeping hives in the apiary and these can be obtained from the Bees Officer.

Bonfires

  1. No bonfires are allowed on the site.

Children

  1. Persons aged under 14 years are welcome on the site, but they must be accompanied and supervised by a member at all times.

Dogs

  1. Dogs or other animals are allowed to visit on site if they are kept on a lead at all times and fully supervised.

Fruit and Vegetable Cages

  1. Cages on a plot shall not exceed 2 metres in height.

Gates

  1. Gates must be kept locked every time after members enter or leave.

Intrusion onto other plots

  1. No one may go onto someone else’s plot without permission or valid reason.

Invasive plants and weeds

  1. Invasive plants such as mint or horseradish must be kept in containers. Members should take all active steps to avoid the spread of invasive weeds and seed borne weeds.

Livestock

  1. Keeping livestock or animals (other than bees, see Apiary) is not permitted on the site.

Machinery

  1. Members may use the machinery owned by CFA. For insurance and safety reasons, before doing so they must:

acknowledge in writing that they have received instruction in the machine’s use,

wear the necessary protective equipment, and

sign the machine out in the Borrowing book.

  1. All machinery must be returned in a clean and undamaged condition and not lent on to another member.

Noise

  1. Except for the noise of machinery, members must allow other members quiet enjoyment of their plots. If music etc. is played it must be at a volume which is not an annoyance to other members.

Paths

  1. Each plotholder is responsible for maintaining the path on the right side of their plot (looking from the main path) together with their boundary on the main path and in front of sheds etc.
  2. Paths are to be a minimum of 2ft (or 60cm) wide. Edges are to be kept in a straight line. All paths are to be kept clear of obstructions.

63.Plotholders should attempt to maintain their plot without regularly using a neighbour’s path.

Refuse

  1. The wheelie-bins are provided for the disposal of woody pruning and pernicious weeds and there is one for tin cans. Plotholders are encouraged to maintain compost heaps on their plots to turn other suitable matter into compost.
  2. Wheelie-bins must be returned to the entrance at the end of the day and not left on a plot.
  3. No rubbish is to be dumped at the entrances to the site. It must be kept on the plot until a skip is ordered. (Two skips a year are provided). Other rubbish can be deposited at a Council tip (there is one in South Access Road).

Sheds etc

  1. Sheds and greenhouses etc are not to encroach on paths, and the paths in front of sheds should be kept clear. If plotholders wish to erect a new shed or greenhouse on their plot they are required to consult with a member of the committee before commencing erection.

Trees

  1. Any tree on a plot (fruit or otherwise) must be kept below 2.5 metres tall, or shorter if it is shading another plot. It is recommended that, if possible, all trees should be on dwarf root stock. Prickly bushes or shrubs must not overhang the edge of a plot.

Vermin

  1. Plotholders must not encourage rats or mice. The laying of poisoned bait (or food) for wildlife, other than rates or mice, is prohibited.

Water

  1. Water is supplied and metered by Thames Water at a cost of about £1.15 per cubic metre (2010). The supply is switched on by the Committee between 1st April and 1st October. Plotholders are encouraged to conserve water by using water butts and not to waste water by leaving taps dripping or by overwatering.
  2. No hose pipes, sprinklers or trickle hoses off the mains water supply may be used on the site.
  3. Water tanks are not to be used for washing equipment or produce.

Wheelbarrows

  1. The CFA wheelbarrows and other equipment must be returned to either end of the site when members leave the site and not left on a plot.

Rules Approved at the AGM on 6th June 2011