Our Constitution

CONSTITUTION OF BARRACKS LANE ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION

1     THE AIMS of the Association. 3

2     THE TRUSTEES of the Association. 3

3     THE COMMITTEE of the Association. 3

4     GENERAL MEETINGS. 4

5     HANDLING COMPLAINTS. 4

6     MEMBERSHIP. 5

6.1 Code of Conduct 5

7     BREACHES OF THE RULES. 6

8     RULES. 6

8.1 Cultivation and weed control 6

8.2 Fruit Growing. 6

8.3 Site safety, security and duty of care. 7

8.4 Plot Boundaries. 8

8.5 Storage and Structures. 8

8.6 Water 8

8.7 Bonfires. 9

8.8 Waste management 9

8.9 Communication. 9

8.10 Vehicles. 10

9     POLICIES AND PROCEDURES. 11

9.1 Equal Opportunities Policy. 11

9.2 Waiting list policy. 11

9.3 How to make a Complaint 11

Approved by Annual General Meeting, 22 October 2014

1        THE AIMS of the Association

  1. To promote the interests of the Members with regard to good cultivation, management and enjoyment of the allotments.
  2. To ensure that as many plots as possible are allocated and cultivated in accordance with its rules.
  3. To manage, maintain and improve the site responsibly and sustainably, respecting the environment, and to encourage and educate others to do the same.
  4. To respect the terms of the Lease with Oxford City Council (‘the Lease’).
  5. To work with Oxford City Council, the Oxford & District Federation of Allotment Associations, and other organisations and individuals in furtherance of our aims.

2        THE TRUSTEES of the Association

  1. The Trustees are responsible for all the obligations within the Lease and act as Tenant to rent the allotment site from Oxford City Council.
  2. The Trustees will usually be Members of the Committee, and must be Members of the Association. In the event of one or more Trustees ceasing to be a Member of the Association, other Members of the Association may replace them, provided that there are never less than two Trustees. The Council must always know the identity of the Trustees.

3        THE COMMITTEE of the Association

  1. The Committee consists of five Officers – the Chair, the Secretary, the Field Secretary, the Membership Secretary and the Treasurer, and up to four other Members. The Committee is elected by majority vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
  2. In the absence of an elected Chair, one of the other officers will chair committee meetings either by common agreement or in rotation.
  3. In the event of there being a vacancy on the Committee between two AGMs the Committee may co-opt a replacement from among the Members.
  4. Membership of the Committee is voluntary, unpaid and open only to Members of the Association. The Committee must meet at least four times a year, with a quorum of four and will keep records of its meetings.
  5. The five Officers will receive an honorarium equivalent to the annual cost of up to one non-concessionary plot, subject to the approval of the Membership at the AGM.
  6. The Committee’s powers and duties are as follows:
  1. To pursue the aims of the Association and administering the site.
  2. To arrange the AGM – see Section 4 below.
  • To maintain a bank account in the name of the Association. Cheques drawn on the account must have at least two signatories. There should be at least three signatories to the account and these should be from among the Committee members.
  1. To keep the accounts available to Members at 28 days’ notice.
  2. To make a minimum of two members of the Committee available to inspect any plot to investigate a complaint.
  3. To inspect all plots annually, on giving at least 14 days’ notice, by a minimum of two members of the Committee to ensure appropriate cultivation and for health and safety audit purposes.
  • To inspect the site informally at regular intervals during the year and record and inform Members of any problems.
  • To organise regular Members’ working parties to maintain the site, including the site access and communal areas.
  1. To employ contractors as required to undertake routine and occasional maintenance and repairs, paid for from the Association bank account.
  2. To set and collect Membership fees and other charges, after due consultation with Members at a General Meeting, and within any limits or requirements set by the Lease.
  3. To reduce the size of a Member’s plot and/or to withdraw membership if a Member fails persistently to abide by the Association rules.
  • To take appropriate action to remedy any health and safety risk identified anywhere on the site.

4        GENERAL MEETINGS

  1. The Committee will arrange an AGM giving 21 days’ notice of its date, place and agenda by email, and in writing on the noticeboard.
  2. The AGM quorum is 10% of the Membership at the date when the AGM was called.
  3. The accounts and annual report will be submitted at the AGM, after the accounts have been independently examined and duly certified by a qualified person.
  4. Special General Meetings (SGM) may be called either by three Members of the Committee or by at least 15 Members writing to the Committee requesting such a meeting. The Committee will then arrange an SGM giving 21 days notice of its date, place and agenda by email, and in writing on the noticeboard.
  5. The SGM quorum is 10% of the Membership at the date when the SGM was called.
  6. Members must give the Secretary seven days’ written notice of agenda items for Any Other Business for any General Meeting.
  7. Only Members of The Association who have paid the annual fee and signed a Member’s Agreement will be eligible to vote at General Meetings.
  8. Changes to the Constitution and Rules may only be agreed by a majority vote at a General Meeting.

5        HANDLING COMPLAINTS

  1. The Committee will investigate any complaint only if it is made in writing to the Secretary.
  2. Any person against whom a complaint has been made will be made aware of the nature of the complaint and may respond in writing or put their case to the Committee in person.
  3. In the event of a complaint being made against the Committee, at its discretion it may request the Oxford & District Federation of Allotment Associations to investigate.
  4. The Committee’s decision on whether or not to take further action will be final.

6        MEMBERSHIP

  1. To become a member of the Association, an applicant must sign and return a Member’s Agreement by which they agree to abide by the Constitution and Rules. Any subsequent amendments to the Constitution and Rules agreed at a General Meeting will be notified to members by email and on the Notice board.
  2. An annual membership fee will be paid. The membership year runs from 1 November – 31 October.
  3. Members are entitled to a key on payment of a refundable deposit, which will be forfeit if the key is lost or not returned on giving up their membership.
  4. Payment of the annual membership fee confirms that the Member agrees to any amendments to the Constitution and Rules agreed at a General Meeting.
  5. All Members must provide a current email and/or postal address, and where possible a mobile phone number. Any changes of address must be notified to the Secretary as soon as possible.
  6. The Committee will allocate each plot to a named Primary Plot Holder, who will be accountable for its management in accordance with the rules of the Association, and for payment of the plot fee, which includes his/her membership fee.
  7. Each Primary Plot Holder may share cultivation with up to two Associate Members and is responsible that they act in accordance with the rules of the Association.
  8. Children are welcome. The Primary Plotholder is responsible for ensuring they are supervised at all times and keep to common areas only.
  9. Primary Plot Holders may not let or part with any part of their plot.
  10. Primary Plot Holders will pay an annual fee which will include his or her membership fee by 1 November each year. Failure to pay within one month will result in the surcharge detailed in the invoice. Failure to pay within two months will result in the termination of the Membership of the Primary Plot Holder and his/her Associates.
  11. New Primary Plot Holders will pay the full annual plot fee upon allocation of a plot until 1 August, after which date s/he will pay only the fee due from 1 November.
  12. There is no automatic right of succession to a plot for an Associate Member if the Primary Plot Holder resigns their Membership or is for any reason given notice to leave the site. The Committee will take a view on a case by case basis, dependent on the state of cultivation of the plot and the size of any waiting list.

6.1      Code of Conduct

The Association expects all members

  1. to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration. All members have the right to expect reasonable behaviour from others, and a corresponding responsibility to behave reasonably towards others.
  2. to have a duty of care to others on the site and are responsible for the safety of any visitors (especially children) who they bring on site, and for ensuring that those visitors follow the Association’s rules.
  3. to contribute three hours to a working party on the site each year. Working parties take place at least four times a year and the dates are published on the notice board and via email.
  4. to abide by the rules, procedures and policies of the Association.

7        BREACHES OF THE RULES

  1. Where there has been a breach of any of the Association’s rules the Member(s) concerned may be asked by a Member of the Committee to rectify the breach(es).
  2. If appropriate remedial action is not taken the Member(s) in breach may be sent a written request by the Committee to remedy the breach(es) within a specified time limit.
  3. If the breach is not remedied in the specified period then the Committee may terminate the Membership Agreement on the issue of one month’s final written notice. In the event that a Member’s written notice relates to an issue that gives rise to a cost to the Association, the Committee reserves the right to reclaim the costs from the Member.
  4. In exceptional circumstances (e.g. theft, vandalism or behaviour endangering others) the Committee may terminate Membership in writing with immediate effect.

8        RULES

8.1      Cultivation and weed control

  1. Plots shall be used for growing vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers.
  2. Plots cannot be used for any trade or business.
  3. Plots must be kept clean, tidy, safe, free from perennial and flowering weeds and in a good state of fertility.
  4. Permanent planting of non-crop bearing trees and invasive plants such as (but not restricted to) bamboo and all types of willow are not permitted. If there is any doubt about whether a plant/tree might breach this rule, please seek the approval of the Field Secretary. Existing willow will not be deemed to have set a precedent and must be kept well pruned.
  5. Weed killers and pesticides should only be used with due consideration for neighbouring plots and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Members are advised to discuss planned use with their neighbours before use, and only use on a calm day.
  6. The Association is required by the Council Lease to maintain good standards of cultivation and fertility. A formal cultivation audit will take place twice a year. The Committee will give 14 days’ notice to members of audits.
  7. As a general guideline at least75% of any plot would be cultivated i.e. growing vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers, and that green manures or weed-suppressing membrane will not take up more than 50% of a plot in any one season.
  8. If less than 50 % of a plot is actively cultivated to grow fruit, flowers, vegetables or herbs for more than two consecutive seasons, and there is a waiting list for plots, then the Committee may reduce the size of the plot or ask the Primary Plotholder to move or give up their plot.
  9. Members must not keep animals or birds on their plot.

8.2      Fruit Growing

  1. Top fruit trees must not occupy more than 25% of any plot.
  2. Top fruit trees may only be planted with the agreement of the Committee. Generally, cordoned and trained dwarf trees will be recommended.
  3. The root/shade (equivalent to branch spread) of fruit trees should fall within your own plot boundary and the tree should be no higher than 2.5 metres (8 ft).
  4. Primary Plot Holders may remove any perennial crop or fruit bushes and trees planted and purchased by them before the end of their Membership but should replace any surface soil disturbed by removal.
  5. Any other trees planted on plots prior to this agreement should be strictly pruned to conform to guidelines. In extremis it may be necessary to remove inappropriately sited trees.

 

8.3      Site safety, security and duty of care

  1. All Members are expected to pay a refundable deposit, at a rate set by the Committee, for keys to the site.
  2. Members giving up their membership are asked to notify the Secretary and to return all keys to the site to a Member of the Committee.
  3. In accordance with the Lease, the Allotments may not be used for any illegal or immoral purpose.
  4. Members must not cause nuisance to neighbours on or off the site, and must treat others with the consideration and respect with which they would wish to be treated themselves.
  5. Members must not go on to other plots without permission. Taking crops, produce, implements or other items from other plots is theft and will result in the immediate termination of the membership.
  6. Members have a duty of care to everyone, including visitors and themselves.
  7. No unaccompanied visitors are permitted on the site.
  8. The Committee provides communal wheelbarrows, play equipment and a barbeque area for the use and enjoyment of Members. Members making use of wheelbarrows or play equipment must not remove it from the site, and to return them to the Orchard area in a clean and working state of repair before leaving the site.
  9. The Association is not liable for loss by accident, fire, theft or damage to structures, tools, plants or contents on Members’ plots – or for injury to anyone resulting from use of communal equipment. However, incidents of injury, theft and vandalism should be reported to the Committee, and to the police when appropriate.
  10. To comply with the terms of our Public Liability Insurance, the Committee is obliged to conduct an annual health and safety inspection of the site. Any structure or other issue considered hazardous by the Committee must be dealt with, repaired or removed by the Primary Plot Holder within 21 days of receipt of written notification by the Committee.
  11. The entrance gate is always to be kept closed and locked after entering or leaving the site. This applies even if the gate is found to be already unlocked on arrival or departure. Repeat failure to lock the gate may lead to action by the Committee.
  12. Only Members’ dogs are permitted on site. The owner must ensure the animal is always under control and remains on the Member’s plot at all times.
  13. Only Committee Members and those trained and authorised by the Committee may use the Association machinery. Any machinery used by Members must be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and is at the risk of user.

 

8.4      Plot Boundaries

  1. Primary Plot Holders must ensure that plot boundaries are kept unobstructed, trimmed and weed free. This should include keeping a clear and weed free access path behind plots along the hedge boundary to enable safe site inspection by Members of the Committee (but not for general use as a thoroughfare).
  2. The pathway between each whole plot must be maintained to a minimum width of 60 cms (2’).
  3. Primary Plot Holders are responsible for maintaining and mowing the path on the left of their plot when facing towards the central path.
  4. Where a whole plot has been subdivided equally into two or more plots, the rear boundary line will be the joint responsibility of up to four Primary Plot Holders, and each will have the right to a proportionate space along the hedge line to erect sheds or compost bins. (i.e.: a ¼ plot holder will have the rights to ¼ of the hedge line space etc.)

8.5      Storage and Structures

  1. The Primary Plotholder must obtain the Committee’s written approval regarding the size, materials and siting of sheds, greenhouses or polytunnels. Sheds must be built on hedge lines.
  2. No permanent base may be constructed.
  3. Sheds, greenhouses and any other structures must be kept in safe and in good repair.
  4. Members may not stay overnight in sheds or allow anyone else to do so.
  5. No materials should be leant against fences and hedges, and any materials brought on site should be stored within the Member’s allocated space.
  6. Compost needs to be stored in compost bins and not piled into hedges.

8.6      Water

  1. Members should make careful use of the metered water supply to the site both to keep costs down and for environmental reasons.
  2. To help with this, Members are asked to conserve rain water by using water butts wherever possible.
  3. Water supplies will be turned off by the Committee during the winter months.
  4. Only members of the Committee may adjust ball cocks, or turn the water on and off, except in cases of emergency.
  5. Please report any concerns about water leakage to the Field Secretary immediately – leaks are expensive as our water is metered.
  6. Ponds are not permitted on the site.
  7. Hosepipes cannot be connected to the site water supply.
  8. Washing anything in the water troughs is forbidden. Buckets are provided for this purpose and these should not be removed from the troughs.

8.7      Bonfires

To comply with the Lease members must follow the site bonfire code.

  1. Great care must be taken when lighting bonfires and bonfires must be extinguished immediately in the event of any complaint from local householders.
  2. Members are asked to limit bonfires as much as possible and to use a small incinerator barrel wherever possible.
  3. Members can burn only woody materials which cannot be composted and which are dry.
  4. Burning of treated wood or painted wood is not permitted
  5. Burning material such as plastic tyres, carpet, MDF, laminated wood, and any other materials that would increase toxicity is not allowed.
  6. Smoke must not cause nuisance to local residents or other plot holders.
  7. Bonfires may not be lit on Bank Holidays (as required by Oxford City Council).
  8. Bonfires should only be lit when the wind is blowing up the field (away from the Cowley Rd) and is clearly not affecting any dwellings. Gauging the suitability of the wind direction is not always easy particularly in changing conditions; if in doubt do not light a fire.
  9. Members cannot bring materials from their home garden to burn on site.
  10. Members may not use accelerants such as petrol or oil to start bonfires.
  11. Members may not have fires close to structures or within three metres (10’) of any hedge or fencing.
  12. Members must attend to any fire and be very aware of risk to others especially when children are on-site.
  13. Members must make sure bonfires are burned out before they leave the site, i.e. are not flaming or liable to reignite. Hot ashes are difficult to deal with, but can remain hot and dangerous for several days and it may be best to dowse before leaving the site.
  14. From time to time the Committee will organise a communal site for burning.

 

8.8      Waste management

  1. Members should not bring any hazardous or non-compostable waste onto the site and should remove their own waste from the site. Members are asked to remove broken glass immediately, and to take other rubbish from the site whenever and wherever they find it.
  2. All potentially toxic materials should be suitably stored.

8.9      Communication

  1. The Committee is obliged to ensure compliance with Data Protection legislation. All Members are asked to supply an address, phone number and email address on joining, and in doing so will be agreeing that the Committee and other Members of the Association have the right to use this information for Association business. Any Member found using this information for any other purpose may be considered to be in breach of the rules.
  2. The number of Members not using email is very small, but the Committee will always put any news relating to changes to this constitution, cultivation audits, health and safety inspections, working parties and general meetings on the site Noticeboard.
  3. Members must let the Secretary have any changes of address, phone number or email address as soon as possible.
  4. Members should feel free to contact the Treasurer if they require assistance with their rent or maintenance levy.

8.10  Vehicles

  1. Motor vehicles may be brought on site for occasional loading and unloading, and only then when the ground is sufficiently dry for the vehicle not to damage the ground – if there is any doubt as to the suitability of the state of the path, please consult the Field Secretary .
  2. Parking on-site is not normally permitted. Requests to park a vehicle on-site to facilitate access for a person with a disability on a regular basis must be made in writing to the Committee.
  3. Cars with permission from the Committee to park on site may only do so at the top of Field A ensuring that access to all plots is unimpeded, and only when the weather allows safe access.
  4. The Committee will not permit any vehicle access during wet periods or at other times when the site may be damaged.

9        POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

9.1      Equal Opportunities Policy

  1. The Barracks Lane Allotment Association is committed to making the site accessible to as many members of the local community as possible.
  2. No Member may discriminate against any other Member on the grounds of any characteristic protected under equality legislation.
  3. Any Member found by the Committee to be in breach of this policy may have their membership terminated with immediate effect.

9.2      Waiting list policy

  1. The Committee will keep a waiting list for vacant plots on the field.
  2. Plots will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis to those on the waiting list, and new Members will normally be offered a half-plot in the first instance.
  3. All prospective Members must complete an introductory site tour with a member of the Committee.
  4. The only exceptions to this policy will be:
    1. Where an existing plot holder does not yet have a full plot, has cultivated 100% of their existing land and has asked to be considered for additional space should it come available.
    2. Where a person asking to be put on the waiting list already has an allotment in Oxford. In this instance a plot will only be allocated if there is no-one on the list seeking to take on a first allotment in Oxford.

9.3       How to make a Complaint

  1. If it has proved impossible to resolve a complaint informally, and a Member therefore wishes to make a formal complaint about any aspect of the management of the site, or about another individual, then the complaint must be made in writing to the Secretary.
  2. The Committee will then investigate the complaint.
  3. Where relevant , as part of this investigation, the Committee will copy the original written complaint to the person(s) against whom the complaint has been made – who will in turn be invited to respond in writing, or in person, to the Committee.
  4. Any response received will be shared with the original complainant.
  5. The Committee will then review all aspects of the complaint and will determine a course of action to be taken to resolve the issue.
  6. This decision will be communicated in writing to the original complainant and to any individual(s) against whom a complaint has been made, and the decision of the Committee will be final and binding.
  7. In exceptional circumstances, and where investigation of a complaint reveals that the rules of the Association as set out in the Constitution have been breached, immediate notice to quit the site and return keys may be issued by the Committee.
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