Newsletter November 2019


First ‘Have Your Say’ session

At the first ‘Have Your Say’ session in October around a dozen members attended. These meetings are very informal. There is no record of who attended or who asked what question. Simple notes are made of the content of the questions and answers which are summarised here:

Q. Will the CCTV cameras be directed/focussed on plots?
A. No, only on roadways. To be reviewed if and when an incident has occurred in order to see who entered the site on the day in question.

Q. Not replying to communications
A. Apologies, hopefully this will not occur in the future. The general principle is that emails received will be acknowledged and then dealt with at the next board meeting.

Q. Request for a volunteers’ list to assist plotholders requiring help
A. Any plotholder wishing to volunteer please submit their name, plot number and a contact phone number to communications@pointalls.org. The list will then be displayed on the notice board(s) and in the trading shed.

Q. What is happening to the toilets?
A. There will be a membership survey in the near future.

Q. What about the penalty cost for plotholders who do not maintain their pathways?
A. This is allowed within the regulations (see regulation 6) and would only be carried out in agreement with plotholders. No plotholders have incurred charges, as all plotholders who received letters assisted in keeping their pathways clear.

Q. New regulations have been introduced without the membership’s approvalA. The board has the authority to introduce regulations, albeit not retrospectively. All that has been done is that a number of regulations have been better and more precisely defined to align us with other allotment sites.

Q. What is happening to plot 102?
A. It is proposed to create a small turning area for plotholders’ vehicles and offer the remaining area as a reduced plot.

Q. Roadway on Squires Lane side has skip lorry churning up soft ground. What is happening about reinstatement?
A. We have a written undertaking from the plotholder that any damage will be made good. We are monitoring the situation.

Q. Consideration to Long Lane Pasture members regarding access from allotment site to pasture.
A. A Pasture supporter who is also a plotholder has requested such consideration. Our response is that we would be happy to consider any proposal which the trustees of the Pasture might make, providing it met a real need, did not put site security at risk and was at nil cost to allotment members’ funds. However, we would also have to obtain an amendment to our lease with the London Borough of Barnet.Q. Why has the tool hire service been suspended?
A. Due to poor condition on return, which necessitated costly repairs and made the service unviable, plus our duty of care in relation to health & safety.

Q. Plotholders given notice to quit
A. Consequence of a plotholder’s misconduct, behaving in an anti-social way towards other plotholders. Such behaviour will not be tolerated – see tenancy/ regulations for enforcement.

Q. Is the board contemplating a polytunnel given it was mentioned in previous minutes?
A. The item was discussed but there are no plans to introduce/purchase a polytunnel. We are merely exploring fund raising opportunities that a polytunnel might give in regards to plant sales.

The next ‘Have Your Say’ meeting is scheduled for Sunday 19 January 2020 at 11.30 in the trading shed.

Turnaround space on plot 102

Plot 102 will shortly be taken on by a new tenant. The plot has been made slightly smaller in order to provide a turnaround space for cars that drive into the roadway along the fence. This should make driving in and out easier and safer.

Looking after your personal data

We are required by law to take good care of our members’ personal information. We maintain a members’ open register, which by law may be made available to the public. Nearly all plotholders chose to list Pointalls’ registered office address on this register, not their personal address. A separate database of members’ full details, known as the closed register, is securely kept and is protected by the General Data Protection Regulations.

An anonymous organisation calling itself ‘Friends of Pointalls’ has tried recently, and unsuccessfully, to obtain a plotholder’s personal information from Barnet Allotment Federation. If this had been successful, it would have been a breach of data protection rules.

Do you recognise this car?

Two unknown males in their mid-20s were recently found to be acting suspiciously on the allotment. They had a site key and had driven on to the allotment in the car below. If you recognise the car and know whom it belongs to, please drop us a line to communications@pointalls.org. These individuals are not plotholders and should not be on the allotment. Please keep an eye out for the car and alert one of the board members if you should see it on the site.

Survey on toilets

When you receive your invoice for next year, you will also receive a survey that asks you about one specific issue – your opinion about the provision of toilets. It is an important issue for the whole site because it is potentially a big investment that we need to get right. For this reason, I urge you to complete the survey and return it by 31 January 2020. Everyone’s opinion counts!

Termination of tenancy

You will have heard that we have had to terminate the tenancy of a long-standing tenant for anti-social behaviour. The tenant behaved in an intentionally intimidating manner towards another plotholder and the incident was witnessed by a third allotment holder. Anti-social behaviour of this nature is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. If you would like more detail, please contact any of the board members and they can elaborate.

One large carrot

John and Pat Waterhouse clearly know their stuff when it comes to vegetable growing. This is one of this year’s harvest and reportedly John was not even that astonished about the size. Thanks to Rachael Harvey for a lovely picture.

Monty Don in Havana

I watched this programme about urban food growing in Havana with interest. Monty Don visits newly established allotments, called huertas that are dotted around the city. Monty describes it as a green revolution and one of the most sophisticated schemes of organic growing in the world.

The film was made in 2008 as part of the series Around the World in 80 Gardens, but it is now more important than ever that we should re-make food growing into an organic and local industry.

Generous contributions received

This was the weekly contribution of produce received in late October. Radhika and Rachael thank all Pointalls members for their involvement in the scheme this year. The produce was delivered to a kitchen for vulnerable people and to Homeless Action Barnet, and received with thanks! The plan is to start these valuable and generous collections again next year once harvesting begins.

Plant sale next May

Here is a heads up for your diary in 2020 – on Saturday 9 May we are planning to hold a plant sale to raise funds for the allotment. We will need your contributions!

In January, I will follow up with more detail – including what type of seedlings we are looking for in order to make this sale as successful as possible.

Inaccurate information being circulated

A small group of members are alleging that we have recently introduced significant changes to site regulations. This is incorrect. Site rules concerning anti-social behaviour and immediate termination of tenancies have been part of our tenancy agreements and regulations for many years. Rules regarding pathway or plot restoration charges were introduced in 2017.

As regards oversized and neglected compost heaps, we are offering advice as this is not a regulation as such. Furthermore, we certainly do not recommend burning green waste, something that has been alleged. We have clear guidance in our regulations (23, 24, 35) which materials must be composted, disposed of using the popular green waste skip, or by controlled burning on the fire site. If you require copies of our permitted materials information sheets please contact communications@pointalls.org.

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