Plot Inspections – Another Update

For those not on Facebook we thought that it right to publish this response(Post) to comments made on Facebook about Inspections.

Plot Inspections - An explanation
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First point to make is that this is a lengthy post so please take time to read it in its entirety before making any comments.
Second point to make is, don’t shoot the messenger.

Plot Inspections - Why do we have them?
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Short answer; to ensure that tenants comply with the Tenancy Agreement that everyone has signed when they took on the allotment from Woodley Town Council (WTC).
It states - The Tenant shall have at least 50% of the allotment under cultivation of crops and 70% worked after 12 months....

I think everyone would agree that this does not suddenly happen ‘one day’ before the 12 months are up! It takes time to bring an unused plot back into production - unless you are lucky enough to take over a plot that is already growing ‘stuff’ (I wish!).

That said, it would seem logical that any tenant signing up for an allotment would look to work a part of the plot from the very beginning to show that progress has either started or is progressing. Clearly seasons, weather, time and physical ability dictate what progress might be made.

All plot inspections take these factors into account when they are carried out. For example, not a lot grows in the winter, so the inspection would expect to find many of the plots covered and shut down that is perfectly acceptable. Likewise come the spring season, an inspection would expect to see some activity starting, may be some lifting of the covers, even some early planting; by summer an inspection would look to see an increase in activity with more planting. The same goes for an Autumn Inspection, looking for progress.

Plot inspections are not a ‘science’, it’s an objective view of what is happening on a plot and there will a great deal of variation for many reasons. For example, this last eighteen or so months have been a challenge for many people. The committee was approached by a number of tenants who had to ‘self-isolate’ due to Covid; some had other reasons such as being essential workers with no spare time, a few for other reasons.

Because they contacted the committee (as we ask all plot holders to do if they are having problems tending to their plots) they were left of the inspections rota and did not receive any letters. Many of them have thankfully returned to their plots, some have still to return which is why you may see some isolated unkept plots dotted around the site.

Plot Inspection are all about looking at the progress of the process of growing vegetables, Fruit, Flowers etc. after all it that not why we wanted to have an Allotment in the first place?

Yes there will be times when you need to cover the plot (but not for a whole year), yes there will be times when you get behind with tasks, yes there will be times when you feel that you have taken on more than you can cope with. This is why we say, contact the committee and tell us, so that we can talk with you about it and work out the best way forward.

There are currently 80 plus eager souls on the waiting list ready to take on an allotment and I think it is only right in light of the upsurge in gardening/being outside that we all use as much as possible what we have or pass it on to one of those 80 plus people on the waiting list.

Who Does the Plot Inspections?
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This is done by members of the committee on behalf of WTC.

The committee members are all volunteers, these are the same volunteers who...
- Organised the Skips
- Organised the Road Repairs 
- Organised CCTV for improvement of site safety
- Lobbied WTC for better gate security via soon to be replaced improved Keys
- Organise Regular Rat traps/bait
- Lobbied WTC for grass cutting
- Continue to repair Perimeter Fencing when required
- Continue to maintain and liaise with on-site Charity Plots

On the last Plot inspection (June 2021), committee members were joined by additional plot holders to see how an inspection was performed. This was in response to the last Facebook discussion! If you would like to join our next inspection ‘walk’ on behalf of WTC, then please let us know via the email at the end of this post.

If you receive a letter who do you contact and it’s not Facebook
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Firstly, Woodley Town Council (WTC), they can be contacted on 0118 969 0356, asking for Heidi or by email on admin@woodley.gov.uk

Secondly and if you cannot connect with WTC, the Committee who can be contacted via email on readingrdallotments@hotmail.co.uk

However, as we had mentioned a number of times in previous posts, newsletters and special Bulletins, if you do have a problem with your plot, whatever that might be please contact us on readingrdallotments@hotmail.co.uk

An example of this happened today. From the recent June 2021 inspection, one tenant who received a letter from WTC contacted the Committee today(1st June) and a discussion has happened between the committees and the plot holder. WTC have been informed and the issue is now resolved.

We hope that this post explains more about Plot inspections, why they happen and what is being looked at. If you do have any general comments, please feel free to comment following the FB group guidelines or if they are more specific about your plot, then please feel free to use the email address above.

Many thanks
Scott Golding
Chair
Woodley Allotments Tenants Association

Please feel free to comment about this using the comment page here.