As many members are aware, there has been a lot of work to clear out the drains that service the Council car park. The soakaways that are under the concrete slab at the top of the site were originally designed to deal with the rainwater from the car park gullys but have now reached the end of their lives and this has resulted in flooding of the lower track and associated plots.
The Council are planning on installing suitable drainage down the centre of the lower track to take off the water from the soakaways down to the spillway in the lower corner of the site then onto the railway. At the same time additional collection points will be created to remove the excess water from the two remaining winter springs.
This work is expected to be carried out at the end of October.
When the contractors are on site, the allotments car park will be closed and allotments that are adjacent to the lower track will require extreme care if access is required. It is recommended that the most affected plot holders, that is those whose plots are adjacent to the railway, do not attend the site while the work is underway.
Once the exact date for the work to be carried out is known, all members will again be advised.
Firstly the good news, we have had another delivery of horse manure.
Now the not so good news. In the hot weather when everyone wants to be outside the smell is such that the neighbours are objecting.
In an effort to minimise the problem we have covered the heap with some white tarpaulin but it would help enormously if you could use it as soon as possible and, after loading your wheelbarrows, replace the tarpaulin.
Last week there was another incident regarding unauthorised access to one of the allotment sites.
This one occurred at Hartswood when three male adults, who clearly had no respect for social distancing rules, effectively barged past plot-holders who were accessing the site and who “stepped back” for their own safety. The intruders then wandered about the site, interfering with at least one of the plots before exiting when another plot-holder opened the car park gates to leave. As far as we are aware no damage was done and nothing was stolen but this was a very un-nerving experience for the plot-holders involved. Fortunately, unlike a recent event at the Ongar Road site, there was no direct threat of actual bodily injury, but this was a trespass and has been reported to the police.
Can everyone please:
1. Be aware of strangers acting suspiciously near the gates. Maybe just bide your time and wait for them to go away.
2. Be aware that if you are accessing a site by car it is extremely easy for an intruder to “tailgate”.
3. Stay safe – under no circumstances should any plot-holder confront any stranger at the site, particularly if they demonstrate any aggressive behaviour.
4. If you are threatened then please call the police on the emergency number, 999 immediately. Otherwise please file a report using the police website (https://www.essex.police.uk/).
We have been advised that the Hutton Horticultural Society Trading Hut will be open for business this coming Sunday, May 17th.
Please make sure that if you do decide to visit that you take with you a valid up-to-date membership card. You will not be served without one.
If you do not have your membership card, please contact your site representative or committee member so that you can arrange a mutually agreed handover of a new one.
For newer members who have never used this facility, our society has an arrangement with the Hutton Horticultural Society where our members can use their Trading Hut which is situated on their Birkbeck Road allotment site and which trades on Sunday mornings. You have to show a valid membership card.
DEFRA have declared a bird flu prevention zone across the whole of England. All bird keepers will have to follow strict biosecurity measures.
The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:
Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;
Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.
Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with DEFRA’s avian flu advice.
Following the reporting of asbestos to the Council by a plot-holder on another site we have been checking our site at Hartswood for any evidence of asbestos cement panels and corrugated roofing.
Those plot-holders where evidence of asbestos is obvious have been informed and requested to take action. However, a visual inspection on a site walk around can never be 100% certain of identifying all evidence of asbestos. Can ALL plot-holders please inspect their own plots and either remove any asbestos or report the situation to the site representatives. We can then arrange its removal to a central consolidation point prior to having it professionally removed by an appropriately licenced waste disposal firm (Bowmers).
It is in your own interest to take advantage of this offer. Disposal of any subsequent discovery of asbestos will be the plot-holders responsibility.