Six allotments allocated under pressure from a resident!
Allotments are managed the Parish Council
These are the Draft Minutes – 11/09/19 that describe how the PC allowed Ms Sayers to interrupt the meeting of 11 September 2019 regarding allotments. If Mike South interrupted in the same manner I am sure he would be chastised by the Chairman.
Was the outcome to everyones satisfaction, I doubt the people from Victory Fields will think so? Out of interest a 2011 allotment list was presented at this meeting, I have a 2008 list, shouldn’t this have taken priority? However, whatever list is around, the Council should use their initiative and apply fairness.
Just a shame that the PC didn’t follow a procedure for implementing the waiting list as suggested by the allotment association by placing names in a hat. If it had, then this shambles may not have taken place. There are many electors who pay precept, who can now bid for even less plots available. This is the thrust of my complaint, a lack of fairness and transparency, especially as there would not have been any allotments without the Victory Fields development.
Make it fair and then this post would have been about the successful allocation of 20-24 plus allotments, not the special six……..
The original Gladedale Submission of 2008 included allotments and not as advised by a resident at the PC meeting Minutes – 11/09/19.
Ask the following for comment:
NB: How many allotments does one person need, it is believed that one of the 6 already has an allotment in the same Ward?
Below is the minuted extract from Draft Minutes – 11/09/19
a) Members discussed requesting a licence to occupy the allotments prior to formal handover of the land from the developer. Councillor Peek asked for it to be noted that Councillor Torris shouldn’t be involved in the debate as he lives next to the allotment site. Members were concerned about taking on unknown liabilities and fragmenting the transfer of land from the developer. The motion was put to a vote but failed to carry.
b) Members received a letter from a resident which asserted that allocation by ballot was unfair to residents who had been on the allotment waiting list since 2011. Members agreed to honour the request from the “original six” as they had been instrumental in securing the provision of allotments on the development in the first place. Councillor Torris abstained from the vote but asked for it to be recorded that he disagreed.
c) Members RESOLVED to re-open the allotment waiting list in order to determine demand. Residents of the parish are invited to send an expression of interest to the Clerk. Members agreed to set up a working group to progress the allotments. Polly Sayers volunteered to join the group; and the Clerk will liaise with Polly to establish the group.
URPC Agenda Item 13 of the 11 September 2019 Agenda: Agenda: 9 Oct 19
a. To consider requesting a licence for the parish council to occupy the allotments prior to formal handover of the land from the developer;
b. To receive a letter from a resident about the statutory obligation to provide allotments and fairness to residents on the waiting list since 2011 of allocation by ballot;
c. To re-open the allotment waiting list in order to determine demand for plots, consider how it will be advertised, and any terms and conditions that may apply.
Also these are the Minutes from 14 August 2019 URPC Meeting:
112/19 Allotment Waiting List
Members RECEIVED advice from The National Allotment Society about allotment waiting lists, which suggested allocating plots by ballot, as the historic waiting list has not been actively maintained. The waiting list will need to be refreshed to determine demand. However, it is likely that the allotments will be oversubscribed, and some of the plots could be subdivided to increase the number of plots. Allotment fees and terms will also need to be agreed.
The allotments are a result of the development known as “Victory Fields” as part of the S106. They are not the result of any parishioner campaigning for them. Therefore, you could argue that all should be allocated to VF homeowners. Remember, as yet they still don’t formerly exist……
At last nights Parish Council meeting a resident appeared with a “list of names for the allotments”, the list and the names have never been public knowledge.
The Parish Council listened to the resident talk extensively during the 15 minute period allocated to the public and again the Chairman allowed her to present “her” case during item 13 of the Agenda. During this time this person threatened legal action if the allotments were not allocated to herself. I would have called her bluff as she hasn’t followed the Allotment Association protocol (see below).
The end result was that the PC allowed this resident to allocate 6 people allotments, including herself from her phantom list. Who are the 6, and why was this list not publicised on the PC website before the meeting, remember it is the PC who is supposed to manage the allotments?
These 6 names were allegedly sent to the PC in 2011, when the developers announced they would provide allotments (the list allegedly totals 24 from the period 2011/12/13, therefore my guess no one from VF will feature on it). More importantly, why did the PC allow this manipulation to take place?
Can anyone explain to me, who knew of this list before the meeting and how residents were added to it, it stinks of undemocratic cronyism?
I shall investigate the legality of this move by the Upper Rissington Parish Council, Chairman, Clerk and the resident.
The allotment association alway said that the fair way was to conduct a ballot to allocate allotments. Even the Clerk suggested this as minuted in August, so why in her legal capacity did she not advocate this? I want to know why and I have asked for FOI access to all emails between the Clerks Office and this party back to 2011?
NB: Has the PC handed over the running of the allotments to someone not even associated with the council? It would appear that the answer is yes. However, the PC is incumbent in managing them, so who is actually in charge now? Answer: NO ONE!
CONCLUSION: Its not the allotments allocation that is the problem, it is the way it has been actioned that stinks of cronyism and undemocratic principles.