2020 AGM Gunsite Development Working Group report

Report on Progress of Action on Responses to the Gunsite Survey, January 2020.

There was a special meeting of the committee specifically to discuss these on 23rd February 2020. The full Minutes are on the website. Over the rest of the year, progress has been made on several points but discussion on the more contentious issues that will be tricky to resolve has been postponed, overtaken by more immediately pressing matters.

The following is a summary of progress so far:

Can’t be done:
Shop opening on Saturday afternoons: Could be done straight away 13.00-15.00: a trial period was tried

but there was not enough custom to be sustainable. This may be reconsidered when potatoes are available in the spring, but would only be for 2 weeks or so.

Build a rain shelter in a convenient position/use of existing huts/shop: this was considered a waste of money since everyone could have access to the Nelly Tee Hut – all should know the code. It was decided not to pursue this idea.

Install a cycle rack: several people had mentioned this but it was decided definitely not to spend money on this – there are plenty of posts to which bikes can be chained.

Make enclosures for manure etc: conversations with contractors revealed that such enclosures would seriously impede larger vehicles’ turning circles.

Working Group to explore practicability and costs of a toilet of some sort: Cost prohibitive, around £4,000. Plus the serious problem of ensuring that this would be kept sanitised and hygienic.

Planting of flowering (fruit?) trees around the car parks: it was decided that this was not practical and would create too much shade over plots due to north facing location.

Electricity: had previously been explored for the site and it is too expensive.
Communal polytunnel/greenhouse: too difficult to manage and no real space in which to site it

In Progress:

Working Group on whether structures for management of the site are the best possible, and to make recommendations. Should consider appointment of deputies for key roles (as has been done at the shop): it has been decided that it is not necessary to have deputies for any officer

apart from the Chair – a volunteer to be sought. Other aspects are under discussion such as

the committee probably being too big – 12, max 15, is much more efficient.

Working Group to study and make recommendations on a greener site – needs to include people not on the Committee: work has begun on this; John Hodges and Robert Holden, who

have already presented informative papers on such matters, are now asking plot

holders for volunteers to join them; an email was sent out on 13th October 2020. Improvement of footpaths, important for safety: Four people have already taken action on

this. Laying down mesh has not always been successful – now they are experimenting

with other methods. Waterlogged footpaths will be closed off, as necessary, with notices.

Re-siting noticeboard to make an information point in middle car park (or in shop area?):

After much discussion, this will happen but the cost of the new supporting structure has yet to be estimated – the current lockable board will be remounted on a frame that will also have an uncovered section, on the grass verge just beyond the cherry tree along the top edges of the plots in the section after the Shop.

Committee minutes to be routinely uploaded onto website (full transparency); updated plot holder map to be put on-line: all these can be done when website re-developed but Minutes are available from Secretary (Maggie Jarman) and Web Manager (Gavin Hamilton) and the map is on the website.

Working Group on outreach/building a stronger community/social events: did make plans but any such events are impossible during pandemic circumstances. Both the letter and the spirit of the law are being taken into account.

Completed:

Improved Inspection process – already in hand; Marc Meryon’s proposals are to be implemented and three inspectors now have volunteered to do whole site in one day: The process is separated from the Site Officers and the new system responds to comments made at the time of the 2019 Inspection and in the Survey. It should give the necessary, and requested, consistency; the Committee will publish guidelines before inspection.

Since the AGM and January meeting, Marc Meryon has worked further on his documents. All will be published prior to the Inspection and displayed on the notice board/website.

We should look at ways of improving the gate locking mechanism, although we cannot do away with it or probably change the lock itself: This has resolved itself since the padlock disintegrated; the replacement code padlock was a failure but the new system with key pad seemed to be working smoothly, until it broke. It is the DE’s responsibility to sort this out.

Committee member to be given authority/responsibility to talk to DE about overhanging trees over plots and the road up to the gate: Jane Taylor has developed a very good working relationship with the Dulwich Estate. She and Armorel Weston attended a monthly surgery at the DE to discuss trees and potholes.

Working party to fix potholes in road/fences: this is on going with thanks to Judith and Mike Patrick. After the visit of JT and AW, the DE has filled in the potholes in the approach road.

Implementation of plans for a Mailchimp account for improved email system with plot-holders knowing who to contact if there are problems: many thanks to Ann Revell for establishing MailChimp and the email system is now secure and running really well. Management of this about to be handed over to Gavin Hamilton and at this point, Ann will become deputy. For any problems, such as about lost items or with plots, contact gsallotments@gmail.com

Discussion not yet developed:

Committee to formulate and seek AGM endorsement of policy on maximum plot size, including multiple plots/plot-sharing: there has not yet been an opportunity to tackle this contentious issue but plot holders with multiple plots have been asked (by the Site Officers prior to rent collection) to consider whether they still want to continue with them.

Working Group on outreach/building a stronger community/social events. Can this be combined with an educational programme – can we aim to produce a monthly email about what needs to be done? (and put this on website); increased use of Nelly Tee Hut as meeting place/information centre: there is much knowledge to be shared but the website needs reconstructing before regular newsletters and advice papers can be posted. All plot holders should have the code for the Hut and it certainly does need greater use.
The committee has decided definitely not to provide a plot for local schools, not least because of risk assessments and insurance issues.

The GDWG has now fulfilled its brief of generating ideas for discussion and improvements and all that participated are warmly thanked, as also are all those plot holders who responded.