|Vinery Rd & Burnside Allotments AGM 1998|
Vinery Road Permanent Allotment Society consists of members from both Burnside and the adjacent Vinery Road allotment sites.
Approximately 30 plotholders attended the AGM at the Grasshopper public house on Wednesday 29 April.
The meeting was characterised by the injection of energy from many persons present, from both the older and the younger members.
There was a strong sense of purpose to the discussions and several new initiatives were devised to ensure the continued success and enhancement of the sites.
Several new committee members were elected, including a lady (for the first time?) and a new Chairman, Pete Michna. Notably, the new committee members were younger than the retiring members.
The issue of bonfires was discussed at length. There was a strong awareness that bonfires cause a nuisance to both local residents and other allotment gardeners. Members condemned any use of the allotment sites for the burning of waste brought there for disposal, and even for burning vegetable remains which could be allowed to rot slowly on a spare piece of land. There was strong support for a motion to ban bonfires from the sites completely, carried by 13 votes to 3, with 1 abstention. Bonfires are now seen as enviromentally damaging and anti-social, so therefore should be avoided.
A need was identified, to clean up the enviroment of the allotment sites. Although most areas of the sites are clean, it was agreed to approach the City Council and ask for a few skips to be dropped on the allotment sites one weekend in July. This would be timed to coincide with an action weekend during which volunteers from each site would put abandoned waste into the skips. Potentially hazardous waste in the undergrowth on some plots and in hedgerows includes broken glass, rusting metal, wood and plastics. Some of this has blown in on the wind, but some was clearly deliberately dumped years ago. Other waste consists of fallen-down sheds, the decay accelerated by lack of maintainance on currently unused plots but perhaps hastened more due to vandalism by surprisingly young children.
To follow the clearance of rubbish, the City Council would be taken up on their offer to prepare between 5 and 10 plots for new occupation. Several local residents have expressed a desire to take up a plot, and these newly cleared plots would be available for them. Update September 1998 : 8 plots were ploughed by the City Council during the summer. These have already been let until October 1999 with an influx of new allotment gardeners following our publicity campaign and are being energetically prepared for the forthcoming season.
Unsupervised children regularly enter the Burnside allotment site over, under and through the surrounding fences, even using wire-cutters to make an entry! The site is not safe as an unsupervised playground. Hazards include the above-mentioned waste, vehicle movements, stored chemicals, possible collapse of old sheds, and deep water butts. The main source of the problem is entry through the playground fence. Allotment gardeners of many years standing on Burnside have seen many plots become vacant near the playground because of the disruption caused. There is a strong feeling amongst Burnside plot-holders that whilst the fencing remains inadequate the playground causes serious disruption and that this problem not of our making should be rectified. One initiative being discussed with the City Council involves planting a prickly hedge to surround the playground fence, but there would then be a very narrow access track to some adjacent plots. Several members expressed willingness to help with this project. Update September 1998 : follow this link to see what happened next to the playground fence.
Water supplies were discussed briefly due to constraints on time. There is a real need improve the water supply to some plots located far away from a standpipe. The meeting agreed to look into whether bore holes could be made so that water could be pumped from the ground.
Recycling materials which the City Council would otherwise have to pay to dump was discussed. Deliveries of leaves, wood chippings and grass are very welcome. More of these materials could be used on the site if they were available. It was suggested that the Society should formally approach the City Council to request these deliveries. Update September 1998 : follow this link to see progress with the woodchip recycling project.
Relevant pages :
Cambridge City Council Review of Allotments 1998
Latest update 03/01/01