AGM 2019 Site Officers’ report

The Gunsite is divided into three zones each of which have a Site Officer allocated to them. Nigel Reynolds is the Site Officer for the first third of the site nearest to the gate and shop, Jane Taylor is responsible for the middle section and Liz Brunton is responsible for the far third near to the second car park.

It’s important that plot holders, in the first instance, contact their own Site Officer, if there is a problem.

On the whole, the Site is in pretty good condition. Plots are mainly well cultivated and the paths and drainage ditches are in goods order. The recent heavy rains are compromising some of the paths where there is heavy footfall. Lateral ditches play an important part so I’m urging all plot holders to spend some time during the autumn and winter to maintain their ditches and dig out as and when is necessary. The maintenance of all ditches is on- going and should form part of the general upkeep of all plots. These are the responsibility of all plot holders.

The main drains at the top and bottom of the site have been cleared either by volunteers or in the case of the bottom drain, plot holders themselves. A huge thanks on behalf of the site for this work. At the moment both drains are full as I would expect, as is the drainage ditch beyond our site that is the responsibility of the Golf Course.

Our waiting list hit an all time high this year reaching over 200. It has since reduced but remains as high as ever.

We have reallocated 18 plots since the last AGM all of which are only 2-3 rods in length and we are in the process of reallocating 4 additional plots. The new plot holders have started with enthusiasm and hopefully will go from strength to strength.

There are a number of volunteers who help keep the Site in good order, who I’d like to thank. There are those who look after the skip, the grass path mowers, the shop, the taps, the manure deliveries, the web site and a new group who have signed up for clearing abandoned plots.

I’d also like to thank Anne Stanesby for keeping everyone informed about pruning trees at the right time and giving advice as and when she is able. Thanks also to and all committee members who give their time and energy to help with the running of Gunsite.

The Maintenance Officer is Nigel Thorpe.

This year he organised working parties to clear the eastern boundary of rubbish prior to the fence repairs; filling in the pot holes in the road and clearing the main drainage ditch. He also organised and over saw the repair of the eastern fence. Many thanks for his help and counsel with the working and up keep of Gunsite.

Manure is being delivered to the Site from Buckingham Palace. [We no longer receive deliveries from the Croydon police horses]. Robert Holden emails or phones the relevant contact to arrange these deliveries. Although we request it, we have no say as to when it is delivered although this is usually within a couple of days. We have also been fortunate to receive leaf mould. There are no deliveries during the summer as the horses are out of London on their holidays. Deliveries are resumed in September.

One tree came down on the boundary with the Scouts. Tree surgeons dealt with it and the Scouts paid the bill. There was little damage to the plot that it landed on although still a shock for the plot holders. The fence is now in need of repair or replacement.

The Golf course has had some tree surgery carried out on their boundary with us which has been paid for by them. The trees on this boundary are an on-going cause for concern, which the committee is aware of.

There have been a number of thefts from plots and tool boxes. Equipment has been removed and in one instance a whole crop of pears was taken.

The gate to the Site is now kept locked at all times except when the shop is open on a Sunday between 10 -12 noon. This is mainly adhered to but not always. All plot holders should have a key as do the contractors who use the site on behalf of Dulwich Estate. We are working with Dulwich Estate and Southwark who are trying to stop fly tipping on our site.

Last November, a car involved in a crime was torched on our site. The police were involved and Southwark removed the car with no cost to us.

I’m sure all will agree that it is worth the extra minutes to lock the gate.

The Annual Site Inspection was carried out in June this year and a follow up in August. The Inspection Teams were made up of two Inspectors, one from a different zone and one from the Committee and the Site Officer for the zone. This was thought to be the fairest way of inspecting.

Plot holders were written to if they failed part of Section 18 of the Tenancy Agreement which the Inspectors use as their criteria.

Most plots that were re-inspected in August had addressed the issues and a couple were given more time. At least one plot holder decided to give up their plot.

The format and letters were the same as those used the previous year. However, this year the letters were considered too harsh and the inspection procedure thought to not be as consistent as it might have been. As a result of this, the Committee have taken steps to address the procedure and reword the letters. Marc Meryon will present this to the AGM later.

The Committee has agreed that the Inspection of 2020 will take place during the first week or so of July. Notification emails will be sent to all plot holders and notices placed at the gate and shop.