Chairman’s Report 2017

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Chairman’s Report 2017

Winter set in at the end of November, so time to tidy up the plots is well upon us. The weather this year has been extremely variable with prolonged wet and dry spells.

We have recently been letting plots to people on the waiting list as a few people gave up their plots at rent collection. We do now have a small waiting list, with the majority of plots now being let. We also held a volunteer recruitment drive at rent collections. Over 100 people put their names down to help in a range of areas, with some new volunteers already helping in the trading hut and on a ‘big tidy up’ day in November. This wonderful society is run by volunteers and we need to ensure that a continued flow of volunteers offer to help in a range of capacities.

As a society, and with special thanks to Jen Tapping, Malcolm Bridge and a team of other people, we anticipate a victory in opposing the proposal to de- designate our land within the Draft Croydon Local Plan. Following the State Planning Inspector’s Public Examination in July he has recommended that our land should remain with its present designation as Metropolitan Open Land and most importantly, for all of our land to become a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. We await the final confirmation of this in early 2018.

In this respect, the wildlife field is our most valuable resource, providing a habitat for a growing number of insects including butterflies. We now need to put special emphasis on ecological conservation across the entire allotment site and we are planning to ask all plot holders to consider how they too can encourage friendly wildlife on their plots.

Work has finally started on the hall. Following a survey, we had the rafters in the loft treated, installed a new emergency door and completely renovated and refitted both the kitchen and servery. The next phase (2018), will be to renovate the main hall, including painting the walls, replacing the ceiling tiles and widening the door between the hall and servery. Then in 2019 we will look to refit the toilets.

Work has also continued in other areas of the site throughout the year including; purchase and installation of the new poly tunnel, electricity extended into the toilet block, the trees at the main gate being felled. The regular working party has continued its outstanding efforts in keeping the site looking in excellent condition.

The trading hut and canteen have continued to generate a strong and necessary income from their sales, and the poly tunnel, once again, has been producing excellent quality plants. Without the additional income generated from these sources, many of the site improvements would not happen. I would like to thank everyone for helping in these areas, without their regular help and commitment these areas would not function as efficiently as they have done.

In August we held our annual show. This year we had over 300 entries. I would like to thank the organisers and judges for their continued support. Next year we are looking into revising some of the classes and the entry system. The show date has been provisionally booked for Sunday August 19th.

During 2017 we again collected surplus produce for the Shrublands food bank. I would like to thank Kevin Trafford for organising and coordinating this community support.

Looking forward into 2018, as a society we are in great shape and will continue to improve our facilities and infrastructure. Most importantly, however, I would like to wish every member all the best and great gardening!

Thank you, DAVID SEAWARD, Chairman AWSLG