Chairman’s Report: AGM 2016

Gunsite Allotment AGM 6 Nov 2016

Chairman’s Report

This provisional report is being written in September to go out with the rent demands; any additional matters of report will be added for the AGM. This report is necessarily long, for which I apologise, but would you please read it carefully.

It has been a mixed year in terms of extremes of weather, and, from report, in crops. Potatoes and some fruit seem to have been good, but the long periods of wet weather and then of hot sun seem to have caused problems. It is pleasant working at Gunsite in the sun, though, isn’t it?!

Rent Demands

The rent demands will go out within the next week. Could you please pay within fourteen days of receipt, and in any event by 7 October, preferably by bank transfer? There will be the option of paying at the shop 1000-1200 on Sundays. Please try to play promptly. You will be happy to know that we remain the cheapest of the three CDAS allotments, because of our efficient administration and profits from the shop, (about 11% of the turnover of £6000-£7000 a year).

Drainage Plan

The other main issue where we need everyone’s co-operation is drainage. The last three winters have seen increasingly bad flooding of Gunsite, and paths which have been difficult to walk on and even dangerous in terms of Health and Safety. The Committee is grateful to David Stacey and Alex Hamilton, who are professional water engineers, for producing the excellent Drainage Plan. We have sent copies to all members, and there is a paper copy on the green container.

In essence, each plot-holder needs to dig 6” ditches around all four sides of his/her plot; the lateral east-west ditch will hold some water back, and the north-south ditch will carry it down the hill towards the golf course. The paths on each side of the plot should be built up with manure so they are higher than the plots, preferably concave, and 30 inches wide. Those in the middle third of the site with paths at the bottom of their plot should put in a section of pipe, which we are providing from the shop.

Could I please encourage all members to concentrate on this over the autumn and winter when the ground is softer? I would stress that we are all inter-dependent in the matter of drainage; any plot with inadequate drainage causes problems for the neighbouring plot-holders, both in terms of paths and flooding. I suggest members should try to have their ditches and paths in order by next summer’s inspection, so we can review what needs to be done. You can help the drainage problem, too, by digging in humus, which increases water-holding capacity by 50% apparently. If in doubt or difficulty, please ask Nelly or a member of the Committee, who will be only too pleased to help. The Committee has spent money on the re-digging of the top ditch, and a new short ditch above the Central car park, and we are providing the drainage pipe and protective plastic mesh for the intersections of the paths where it is needed. It may be that we need to close certain heavily-used main paths over the winter, and lay down lengths of the plastic mesh along these paths. It is very important that we try to improve the drainage and paths for the good of all. Please make it a high priority.

Other matters of report

Inspections

Jane Taylor will be presenting the Inspection Report separately, and we thank her and Nelly for the inspections and the follow-ups, which are a considerable amount of work. Everyone can lighten their load by working the plots consistently, not just for the Inspections. Again, if you have problems maintaining the plots, please let us know.

Potholes

We have held talks with the roads engineer of Dulwich Estate about the potholes on the approach road and up to the Green Waste Site, and there should be improvements shortly. Our thanks to members who keep filling in with stones.

CCTV

There is to be a CCTV camera placed by Southwark to monitor fly-tipping by vehicles of green waste to the site. Please do not be caught doing this! Barrows of our green waste should be OK!

Dead branches

Dulwich Estate has also cut the dead branches which were dangerously overhanging certain plots.

Bee thefts

We had a meeting with London Beekeepers about the bee thief caught on camera last year, and the photo was put up at Park Beekeeping’s shop. There have been no reported new thefts this year.

Barbecues

The three barbecues, in November, June and July(to finish the sausages!) were very successful, thanks particularly to Nina Walsh and her friends. The Committee has decided to hold two a year, after the AGM and at the Summer Solstice. We have also set up a sub-committee to help Nina, and all volunteers from the membership would be most welcome. We have repaired the barbecue itself and a table, and bought a new trestle table. We are now extending the shop patio to provide more seating.

Charities

In the shop area, the food bank run by Bob Reeves continues to be supported, as do the charity refreshments for Project Well, which raised £450 last year, which is sufficient for one arsenic-free well in West Bengal. Thank you all for your contributions.

Thanks

It remains only to thank all who contribute to the efficient running of Gunsite, especially: Nelly Tee the Site Officer; William Marshall the Secretary and weed-killer extraordinaire; Kathy Heeps the Treasurer and organiser of the rent-collecting team; Jane Taylor the Inspections Officer; Nina Walsh for the barbecues and entertainment; Eugene O’Donnell for the IT; and to the Committee for their unfailing support and ideas. Thanks are due too, the mowers, strimmers, pot-hole fillers, wheelbarrow repairers, helpers in the shop, loaders of the shop containers, the potato baggers, those responsible for the skip and manure. I apologise for not naming them all, but they know, and we all know, that they are vital to the welfare of Gunsite We are a community. We have together created a marvellous allotment at Gunsite. Did you know that “paradise’ comes from the Persian word for a garden?

AGM

The AGM will take place on Sunday 6 November at 1000 in the Scout Hut. William will be circulating the papers shortly. Please think of nominations (especially for Chairman, since it is time I retired) and ideas, and please come to the AGM and barbecue and bonfire afterwards.

Philip Milner

Chairman

13 September 2016