Allotment Update January 2022

Published: 12 January 2022

A member of the public asked why the allotment rent was not paid for seven years, The chair said that the vice chair would look into the past records to see how this had happened. Mark Williams proposed that to be honest and transparent, it would be best if this was carried out independently of the Parish Council and he suggested that a neighbouring parish could ask one of their councillors to carry out this task. It was agreed that an independent examination would be arranged.

Actions by former EPPC Administrations: Mick Barton stated that there had been much discussion regarding EPPC’s actions going back to 2012. Following a discussion, in the interests of openness and transparency, it was: RESOLVED:
That a dossier of information would be independently compiled and made available for public inspection.

At the 19th July 2021 Parish Council meeting, it was agreed to set up an allotment subcommittee to take all aspects forward, the following were elected, Mark Williams (MW), Tim Fryer (TF) & Lisa Browning (LB). MW & TF had a video conference with TMBC & their solicitors regarding the current situation with the CPO, it appeared that TMBC had passed on a request back in May for EPPC to obtain a land agent, as this action was causing a delay MW obtained costs of £30,000 for a land agent services. TMBC have placed an Asset of Community Value on behalf of EPPC on the allotment land.

The allotment sub committee had regular meetings with the allotment holders and all information gathered was sent to Ray Crowle (allotment holder representative) who distributed all the information to the allotment holders.

In September 2021, MW managed to contact Mr Grahame Stephens who is the current owner of the allotment site and had a discussion about the possible purchase of the allotments, it was agreed at the 15th November meeting that we would offer Mr Stephens £60,000. TF constantly sent emails and letters to Mr Stephens solicitor, without much response.

As the costs appeared to be spiralling out of control in obtaining the CPO, it was agreed at the 13th December 2021 parish council meeting to cancel the CPO process and as our offer to Mr G Stephens was rejected, that we should go ahead and relocate the allotments. MW would like to thank LB, TF and the allotment holders and the parish council for the healthy discussions that took place to get us to our only viable option.

EPPC has obtained costs for the works required and have asked for planning advice from TMBC, although we sent this in in early November, it hasn’t been looked at yet, our Parish Clerk is continually emailing TMBC planning for information.

With regards to the promised report into the non-payment of the rent, the auditor that was approached by our previous clerk, had informed the clerk, that this was outside of his remit. MW has produced a report which is available to be read at the Parish Council’s office.

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