logo Minutes of a Committee meeting
held on 27 October 2016

Attendees: Susan Stobbs(Chair), Charles Hattersley (Secretary), Sarah Green (Treasurer), Ismail Akram, Jo Hesslewood, Caroline Lenoury and Dick Baxter (co-opted Orchard manager). Apologies had been received from Raymond Gay and Amy Tillson.

1. Orchard matters

The fence bordering the allotments has recently been cleared of brambles and rough growth which will improve light into the adjacent allotment ground. It looks good and has been left tidy but there was discussion about the need to leave coverage and brambles for blackberry pickers and wildlife. This applies to brambles around the site generally. This can be reviewed in the spring. The mower is due for a winter overhaul which may sort out some intermittent overheating problems. The strimmer was discussed and its use must be appropriate to its lightweight specification using cord cutting. A blade cutter was discussed and ruled out on safety and complicated health and safety grounds. Acquisition and planting of Hop plants is envisaged to happen in March. Bulbs have been planted: Daffodils, Crocus and Windflowers. Summer picnic was a great success helped by good weather and good turnout. There were several enquiries about use of The Orchard for children's parties at the picnic, and whether charges for the hire of the gazebo would be appropriate. Since the orchard is common land it was agreed that anyone can hold an informal party, but it was decided that putting up tents and charging would be inappropriate and against Council regulations. Cambridge Building Society have been approached by Susan about the possibility of them providing access to water from their 'smokers' side entrance - awaiting response. Use of Orchard by Auckland Rd houses as bin route seems to have subsided. Fruit: it was a poor year for fruit due mainly to the weather: three plums were seen, apples which were hail damaged suddenly disappeared and pears also vanished. Dick offered to train volunteers in the art of pruning and mentioned that there was space for a few more trees if donated.

2. Money Matters

Sarah advised that all was well and up to date net balance was £570.36 with expected expenditure of £507.42. There was some discussion about aligning our accounts year with the Council grants / tax year but it was agreed that it was probably not worth the effort.

3. New members

Nineteen new members had joined since January.

4. Council matters

Work around the Fort St George and Midsummer House has started with cobbles being laid. Lights on the Common will mainly not be changed. It was decided that individuals rather than FoMC should respond to the dog survey. Bonfire night with fun fair is imminent, Midsummer fair was quiet and other running events passed off with little in way of problems. Number of events seems a bit less with council trying to spread events around other sites. Legal issues are low key as ever, but new officer Cerise Bradford has responded positively ref vehicles reported via Gate emailing. Status of the Allotments not being Common land is on going but quiet. Horse chestnut national survey ref leaf miner problems announced on BBC Radio 4, Susan to prompt Kenny McGregor to respond. Insurance via a council blanket policy has been suggested but no reply received yet.

5. Wildlife and Biodiversity

Not a major year for great obvious success but bat boxes deployed, swift boxes and broadcasting ongoing.

6. Orchard Licence

A new licence has been issued for a further 3 years.

Charles Hattersley, Secretary.
9 November 2016.