AGM and Self Management
The EAP-AGM, held on March 7th 2012, was well attended and went off very successfully. Draft minutes of the meeting, together with the annual reports of the Chairman, Treasurer and Ealing Allotments Manager can be accessed by clicking on AGM. The AGM itself was followed by the ever-popular " Gardeners Question Time" session involving local gardening experts. The highlight of the evening, however was the talk on "Self Management - the Pitshanger Experience" given by Doig Simmonds; particularly timely in the light of Ealing Council's plans to change the system of allotment management foreshadowed in Stephen Cole's Allotments Manager report. To access a summary of the talk and the ensuing discussion click on self management. Expect to hear a lot more on this topic over the next year. Currently nobody - including the Council itself - seems to know exactly what is happening but it is very clear that we as a community need to be discussing this issue with Council officers before their plans are finalised. It is in nobody's interest to let things go right down to the wire as happened with the recent controversy about allotment rent increases. See also the Spring 2012 Newsletter.
Posted: March 22nd, 2012
Things are Moving
As reported elsewhere, Cllr. Mahfouz (Portfolio Holder for Transport and Leisure - which includes Allotment Provision) set out, at a meeting organised by the Council last September to discuss allotment rent increases, a number of possible ways for the future manangement of Council allotment sites:
(i) Self-management of individual sites by local associations along the lines of Pitshanger allotments.
(ii) The setting up of a self-managing charitable trust that took over responsibility for all Ealing Council allotment sites.
(iii) Contracting out allotment management to a private company.
It was stressed at the time that these changes would be subject to consultation with the Ealing allotment community. It now appears likely that a formal decision is to be made over the coming months regarding which, or which combination, of the above is to be adopted.
With this in mind, representatives of the site-based Local Allotment Associations (Blondin, Brentham, Framfield, Horsenden and Oldfields) met recently to set up a Forum to discuss the proposed changes. It was recognised that any changes will have implications for the management of all Council sites and it was agreed that it was important that the Forum should include those of the present Council appointed allotment site managers that wished to participate and offer their views on the best way forward. A second meeting is planned. See the EAP Summer 2012 Newsletter for further details.
Posted: 7th June, 2012
The Forum set up to discuss proposed changes in the management of Ealing Council allotments – see “Things are Moving” posted below – had its second meeting earlier this week. There was a good turn-out of both local association representatives and site managers. It was agreed that while some sites may be in a position to take on self-management if they wanted to – it must be emphasised no Ealing site has at this stage decided that it will to do so – it was quite clear that many other sites, for a variety of reasons, were not in a position to go self managed. The Forum had little faith in the practicability of setting up a charitable trust to administer all sites and favoured some form of mixed solution in which those sites that felt they could handle self-management moved towards this while the other sites were managed directly, or indirectly, by the Council. The current plan is for the Forum to continue in its attempts to assess opinions within the Ealing allotment community while at the same time setting up formal meetings with senior Council Officers in order to determine current Council thinking and to make constructive contributions to the final outcome. See also the Summer 2012, Newsletter.
Posted: 30th June 2012
Clarification of Council Self Management Proposals
Following a meeting of the Allotment Management Changes Forum in June, Hilary Jayne and Patrick Williams (the Forum co-ordinators) met with Cllr Bassam Mahfouz (Portfolio Holder for Transport and Leisure) and Chris Bunting (Assistant Director for Leisure Services) to clarify the situation regarding Ealing Council's plans for the future management of its allotments. This meeting was extremely amicable and constructive.
Cllr Mahfouz explained that the Leisure Services team were seeking Cabinet approval to investigate the feasibility of changing the management of the Council's allotments to include the possibility of introducing a self-management system. The motivation, he stressed was to try and introduce a more effective and efficient management system that provided allotment tenants with a greater say in how their sites were run. Cllr Mahfouz emphasised that there there was no financial motivation driving this proposal, that any decisions would be made in close consultation with the allotment community, and that the present system could be retained if no better alternative emerged.
It was agreed that consultation would be primarily via the Forum as well as other existing channels and Chris Bunting volunteered to organise a workshop for Forum members on different models of allotment self-management that might suit the Ealing situation. It was acknowledged, both by Cllr Mahfouz and Chris Bunting that the introduction of any workable scheme may require phasing over several years and would necessarily involve a considerable input both in training and mentoring on the part of the Council. See also the Autumn 2012 newsletter.
Posted 6th October, 2012.
Progress on the self-management front has been slow but things are now beginning to move. Chris Bunting (Assistant Director for Leisure), who is the Council Officer responsible for looking into the self-management question, is to hold a workshop on Different Approaches to Self-Management on Tuesday 22nd January. Representatives of local allotment associations and site managers from the different areas of the borough have been invited. A full report on the workshop will be included in the winter edition of the EAP newsletter and it is hoped that Chris Bunting can be persuaded to attend EAP’s AGM to talk to a wider audience.
Posted 2nd January, 2013
Self-management Meeting Update
Twelve members of the Self-management Forum group attended the workshop run by Chris Bunting on February 22nd referred to above. Following the meeting, we now have a clearer picture of the Council's motives for wanting to investigate self-management, the financial constraints in terms of the overall allotment budget and the general approach that they might want to adopt.
The main achievements of the meeting were that it firmly established a consultation process as regards self-management, that the contracting-out of allotment management has been ruled out for the foreseeable future at least, that any acceptable scheme will be a mixed one allowing sites that are not in a position to take on self-management to remain under their present management arrangements, and that the "status quo" is the default position in the event of a failure to come up with an agreed scheme. A fuller report will be included in the Winter 2012 edition of the EAP Newsletter which should be available for circulation sometime next week.
Posted 24th January, 2013
The latest EAP newsletter containing reports on the presentations at the EAP-AGM by Cultivate London and by Chris Bunting on the possibilities for Self Management of Ealing Council allotments is now available. Go to News/EAP Newsletter or simply click on newsletter.
Posted: 27th March, 2013
Changes at Horsenden
The three Horsenden Sites (Whitton Drive, Whitton Place and Horsenden) are going over to a limited form of self-management similar to that currently operating at Blondin Allotments. The sites already have a long history of collaboration under the aegis of the Horsenden Allotments and Garden Association (HAAGA). A new association, Horsenden Allotments Association (HAA), has been formed to take over responsibility for the management of the three sites. It will take on responsibility for issuing the annual rent letters and collecting the rents, for the issue of non-cultivation orders, and for reporting breaches of Council Allotment rules. It will also be responsible for minor day-to-day site repairs. Responsibility for the maintenance of the basic infrastructure of the site gates, fences, underground piping etc. remains with the Council. To cover expenses, and in recognition of the managerial responsibility taken on by HAA, it will retain 15% of the rental income. HAAGA’s activities as a Trading and Show Organising Association will continue unchanged working in parallel, and in co-operation, with HAA.
Posted October 8th, 2013
New Local Association
Ealing Dean Allotment Society (EDAS), based on the Northfields site in West Ealing, has recently been formed following the proposed move by the Pathways charity to introduce self management of their Ealing allotment sites Northfields and Haslemere. EDAS will be holding its inaugral AGM in the Main Hall of the Northfields Community Centre, 71a Northcroft Road, Ealing W13 9SS at 7.30 p.m. Tuesday 14th January. Click on website for more details of the society and its activities.
Posted 12th December 2013
There have been a couple of important developments in this area. Ascott is the latest site to agree to take on local management and the possibility of High Lane following their footsteps is currently under discussion. Click on newsletter to access the recent article on the pros and cons of local management published in the autumn edition of the EAP newsletter and agreement to access a copy of the agreement between Ealing Council and participating local allotment associations.
Posted 7th November, 2014
The Current Situation
The are are now eight Council allotment sites operating under Local Management; Ascott. Blondin, Brentham, High Lane, Horsenden, Whitton Drive and Whitton Place and one site Pishanger that is fully self managed .Borough-wide, there are currently:
|Management System||Number of Sites||Approximate Number of Tenants|
|Council-appointed Site managers||19||709|
Posted 22nd September 2015