To seek approval for the adoption of the Allotment Strategy and Action Plan for Council provided allotment sites only (note this does not include the privately owned site managed by the Gosport Allotment Holders and Garden Association (GAHGA)).
The overall objective of the strategy is to improve availability and access for residents to meet the current level of demand and ensure adequate resources are available to support and develop the allotment service provision over the coming years.
Consideration was given to a report by the Head of Streetscene seeking approval for the adoption of the Allotment Strategy and Action Plan for Council provided allotment sites.
Members congratulated the Officers on a comprehensive report and thanked Mr Jim More and the members of the Allotment Stakeholders Group for their input.
Members were happy to see that charity groups such as Loud & Proud and Firstlight Trust were able to use allotment sites as community gardens and all agreed the benefits of working on an allotment.
Officers advised that the current Wardens were lifetime members, currently relaxed due to the insurance issues regarding the pandemic. Alternative arrangements were being considered including site representatives who would be engaged under the Councils volunteer policy with a job description. In addition, it was hoped that there could be a daily on site presence through the DSO, dealing with issues of repair and maintenance and to assist with plot clearance.
Members were advised that part of the strategy was to make all sites statutory not temporary to help protect from future building.
Officers advised that the terms of the tenancy agreements regarding non cultivation were going to be more strongly enforced. The Allotment Stakeholders Group (ASG) would be looking to introduce a new agreement that would revoke all existing versions. Tenants would be asked to sign up to the terms of the new agreement and would receive a period in which to correct any issues on their plot, before the termination process is triggered. Members supported this and wished for a firm stance to be taken with those who do not use the allotments appropriately.
Members were advised that the ASG continued to look into providing toilet facilities on sites but costs of supply and maintenance could prove prohibitive. Compost toilets were part of that consideration.
Officers advised that the Probation Service had been approached to assist in the clearing of plots for re- tenanting, but although keen to help, the current Covid situation meant a delay in starting. The only costs involved would be for the removal of the rubbish created.
Members were advised that an education programme needs to continue in regard to non recyclable items brought onto sites and although the twice yearly skips will continue for the present a longer term aim will be to enforce tenants removing their own rubbish. The green bag scheme is no longer an option but communal compost areas on each site might help and burning is still allowed.
In answer to a Member’s question, the Head of Streetscene advised that he hoped to be able to deal with potholes in allotment roads in house.
Officers agreed to continue sending reminders to tenants regarding the locking of gates and would ensure that damage or issues with the locks would be resolved as soon as a report is received.
The Head of Streetscene advised that a survey of perimeter fences would be required in order to determine where clearing of brambles etc would be appropriate and where it might cause damage to the fence or where it is assisting with the prevention of trespassers. He advised that the fence is old and expensive to replace.
Members agreed that the move to split 10 rod plots to 5 rod plots was the correct one. Officers advised that most people favoured a 5 rod plot and there were now very few 10 rod plots.
RESOLVED: That the Board approved the Allotment Strategy 2021-2024 and agreed in principle to the delivery of the action plan.