of AGM held on Wednesday, 7th March 2012
at the Woodland Bowling Club, Hollyhurst Road.

1. Members present: J Atkinson, N Oakley, I Law, P Burt, A Milburn, D Tweedy, S Cairney, D Cameron, Sarah Neve, T Blackburn, 
T Birdsall, J & A Howe, F Day,  D Price, C Bradshaw, T & A Corah, M Denham, K James, S.  Forth, J Moorhouse,  G & D Dodds,         
M Crawley, R Simpson, D Hutton, J McCoy, R Colley, M Gunn, V Smith, A Chadwick, M Kirtley, M Thornley, A Lee.
2 Apologies: NECA, A. Mowlinski, Lisa Locke (Groundwork)
3. Minutes of 2011 AGM were agreed.

4. Chair/Secretary’s Annual Report – Matters Arising
Security – Satisfaction was expressed at the completion of the fence long the path that leads to the park and West Auckland Road.  Now that the old chain link fence has been as been strengthened it is hoped that the frequency of break-ins will reduce or even stop.  It was explained that the decision to borrow against 2012’s income was made after the taps on standpipes were removed. The committee felt the situation was so serious, it was worth using future income to avoid further damage and expense.  Other allotment sites in Darlington, other parts of Durham and the entire country have also had taps stolen by metal thieves. To avert further problems, the decision has been made to replace them with plastic taps.
Again, members were advised not to leave anything of value on site and leave sheds unlocked to avoid damage. The police are aware of our problems and do all they can to monitor the site. Members were reminded to report any theft or damage to the police on 101, the non-emergency number.

Cultivation The poor condition of a number of plots was raised. An inspection will be made soon and letters sent to those not maintaining their plots properly. If they do not comply then their agreements will be terminated.

The Groundwork Project official opening was discussed. Members were generally satisfied with the development. Keys for the composting toilet have now been passed to the committee. A notice will be posted on the board informing members who the keyholders will be.

Wildlife Area – Unfortunately funding to develop this area has not yet been found. The project has not been abandoned and the need
for volunteers to help clear the site was raised. All agreed it was a good idea but the logistics of organising working parties to tackle the work is difficult. Until we can do so, members are asked not to dump any weeds/rubbish on the site.

Insurance –  Members were reminded that only those named as the plotholder are covered by the insurance bought through NASLG. Those who share plots or where more than one person regularly gardens may wish to take out additional cover for the other person at a cost of £2 per head.  

5.  Annual Accounts – Paul Burt produced an end of year balance sheet that was circulated and approved. ( Copy attached to
minutes ) It showed that on 7th March 2012 the Association had a total of £817.97, comprising £98.24 cash and £719.73 in the Building Society. Sally Forth questioned whether funds were sufficient to pay expenses in 2012 and repay the loan for the fence. She was reassured that income from rents should cover outgoings. £160 is owed to J. Moorhouse for tree felling to clear the way for the new fence. He will also be paid for replacing taps and pipework that was damaged when the old ones were stolen. 
6.  Annual Rents/ Concessions – It was agreed to maintain rents at: £50 full, £25 half and £30 or £15 for concessions. Members were informed of moves being made by the council to remove or cut back concessions on council sites as well as on other self-managed sites.

7.  Water use and cost was £509.35 for 2011.  This was a considerable reduction on the previous year’s costs.  However as it looks like being another dry year, members were urged to collect rainwater whenever possible and were reminded that the use of sprinklers is banned.  

8.  Election of Officers:                 
Chairperson        -  Sally Forth      (nominated by D Hutton, seconded by C Bradshaw)
Secretary           -  Dave Hutton    (nominated by K James, seconded by D Price)  
Treasurer          -  Paul Burt         (nominated by A Milburn, seconded by N Oakley)
Letting Officer  -  Alec Milburn    (nominated by N Oakley, seconded by J Atkinson)

9. Election of Committee – Ivy Law, Alan Chadwick and Derek Tweedy, Sarah Neve, Susie Cairney and Chris Bradshaw were accepted as support members to the committee. Jean Atkinson and Nancy Oakley will also help the new committee to assist the handover.

10. Any other business 
The possibility of restoring some land for use as gardens was raised by Chris Bradshaw. It was explained that to do so would not be easy as Bellburn does not have a committed volunteer group, the ground is in a poor state and professional equipment would be required to clear it.  This would be a costly exercise but the committee will continue to try to find grants to improve the site and re-instate plots whenever possible.

A complaint was made about members driving too fast on site. J Bowie described how, when leaving her plot, she has almost been knocked down twice by a silver saloon car heading towards the bottom of the site. Members were urged to be more careful and observe the speed limit.

J. Kirtley raised the issue of keeping the gate locked at all times. Members were in favour of this move, even though it can lead to heavy wear and tear on the gate, especially at busy times in the summer.
11. The Tombola raised £39. Thank you to all who attended the meeting and supported the association.


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