Cromarty Allotments & Gardens Society - Constitution

Incorporating minor changes agreed at meetings of the Society held on 23 July and 20 August 2009, and approved by the 2009 AGM. (download CAGS Allotment rules in PDF format)

(The constitution may also be downloaded as a 60kb PDF file)

1. NAME

The Society shall be known as the Cromarty Allotments and Gardens Society (hereinafter ‘The Society’) 

 2. OBJECTS 

a)  The objects of the Society shall be: 

(i)  to support and encourage gardening of all kinds, especially the growing of food.
(ii)  to support gardeners by obtaining funding, acquiring, maintaining and sharing tools, equipment, seeds, plants, land, or other resources
(iii) to promote, create, develop, manage and supervise the suitable provision of allotments in Cromarty and its surrounding district, for the benefit of the members of the Society and the wider community
(iv)   promote and represent members’ interests and to encourage good relations with neighbours, relevant organisations (including the Highland Council) and the wider community.
(v)   to provide opportunities for the public to learn about allotments and gardens and their cultivation.

b)  In pursuit of these Objects, the Society shall be non-political, non-sectarian and non-racial. 

 3. POWERS

a)  To further the above objects, the Society may:  

(i) employ and pay any person or persons to supervise, organise and carry on the work of the Society
(ii) engage and pay fees to professional and technical advisers/consultants to assist in the work of the Society
(iii) work together in partnership with representatives of voluntary organisations, government departments, local and other statutory authorities and individuals
(iv) take out membership of any organisations as are considered to be in the interests of the Society
(v) promote and carry out or assist in promoting and carrying out research, surveys and investigations and publish the results
(vi) arrange and provide for the holding of exhibitions, competitions, meetings, lectures, classes, seminars and training courses for members of the Society, the local community or the general public
(vii) collect and disseminate information and exchange such information with other bodies having similar objects
(viii) produce and circulate documents, audio or visual materials or digital information to further the Society’s objects
(ix)  acquire and maintain seeds, plants, tools and equipment and make these available for use by members of the Society.  Tools and equipment are to be kept in secure location(s) and maintained for the use of Society members by a nominated (or elected or paid) individual.
(x)  purchase, take on lease or exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any property and any rights and privileges considered appropriate for the promotion of the objects and construct, maintain and alter any buildings considered appropriate for the work of the Society
(xi) make regulations for the management of any property, which may be so acquired
(xii) sell, let, dispose of or turn to account all or any of the property or assets of the Society
(xiii) raise funds by inviting and receiving appropriate contributions from any person or persons by way of subscription or otherwise, or by accepting gifts on such terms and on such security as shall be deemed to be appropriate
(xiv) invest the funds of the Society not immediately required for the objects in or upon such investments, securities or property as may be thought fit
(xv) do all such other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the Objects 

4. MEMBERSHIP 

a)  Ordinary Membership shall be open to all individuals over the age of 16 years, families and non-profit organisations resident within the Cromarty Community Council area, and whose fees are fully paid by the date of the Annual General Meeting (AGM).  Only Ordinary Members have a right to vote at General Meetings.  Non-voting membership may be extended to other individuals or organisations at the Committee’s discretion. 

b)  The Annual Society membership fee for the following year shall be determined at the Society’s AGM. Members will be notified of any proposed changes in fee, at least four weeks prior to the AGM. 

c)   Allotment holders must be full members of the Society and must undertake to cultivate their allotment in accordance with the Society’s rules. 

d)  In addition to the Society Membership Fee, members renting allotments may need to pay rent for the land itself to the landowner.  The Society will manage any allotments sites overall and negotiate such rents on members’ behalf. 

e)  The Society will maintain an Allotments Waiting List if necessary.  This will be maintained in a strict, consecutive manner, by the Secretary.  In adding names to the Waiting List, the Secretary will employ an equal opportunities policy. The Secretary may refuse to add to the Waiting List any person known to have been expelled from an Allotment Society elsewhere. 

f)  The Committee shall have the right for good and sufficient reason (for example, antisocial behaviour or persistent non-cultivation of an allotment) to terminate a member’s membership and where appropriate, allotment lease, provided that the member concerned shall have the right to be heard by the Committee before this step is taken.  The Committee shall develop a formal procedure to follow in such cases. 

5. MEETINGS

a)  General Meetings shall be held on the third Sundays of May and September. The September meeting shall be the Annual General Meeting when the election of executive and ordinary committee members shall take place, 10 members being a quorum.  Additional General Meetings may be held if so decided by the Committee. 

b)  The Agenda for each General Meeting will include an item for other relevant business to be raised by members without prior notice.  

d)   A majority of the Committee, or 15 or more ordinary members may call for an Extraordinary General Meeting by requisition in writing to the Secretary. Such meetings shall be held within one month of receipt of notification.  

e)  Notice of any General and Extraordinary Meetings together with the Agenda shall be posted on the 

Community Council Notice Board at least two weeks prior to the meeting. 

 6. MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

a)   Society members shall elect at the AGM a Committee consisting of 12 members, including the offices of Convenor, Vice-Convenor, Secretary, and Treasurer.  

b)   Office bearers shall be appointed for a period of three years and may stand for re-election. Committee members shall be elected annually and may also stand for re-election.  All Committee members may be subject to removal at any time by a simple majority of ordinary members present at a quorate General Meeting.  

c)   The Committee shall manage the affairs of the Society between General Meetings but shall carry out any instructions given to them by a majority of Members at a General Meeting.  

d)  The Committee shall meet at least twice between the May and September General Meetings. When only two such meetings take place they shall be separated by at least one month. 

e)  The Committee shall have the power to co-opt additional members to serve until the next AGM when they must stand for election.  Co-opted committee members must be drawn from the Society’s membership. 

f)  The Committee shall have the power to appoint such sub-Committees as it may from time to time decide, and shall determine their powers and terms of reference. 

g)  The management committee shall appoint and fix the remuneration of  any paid staff as may in their opinion be appropriate. Paid staff shall not be members of the management committee. 

h)  If the Committee, by a majority, decide at any time that it is necessary or advisable to dissolve the Society, it shall call an Extraordinary General Meeting of all members of the Society. Notice of a meeting to dissolve the Society shall be not less than four weeks, and shall state the terms of the resolution to be proposed. 

7. RULES AND PROCEDURES AT MEETINGS 

a) Chair:  All meetings will be chaired by the Convenor, or if necessary by a substitute agreed by those present. 

b) Voting:  All votes will be decided by a simple majority of the Members present.  The Chair has both a deliberative and a casting vote in the event of a tied vote. 

c) Quorum: The quorum for Committee Meetings is 5 elected members, for other Meetings, 15 members. 

d) Disputes: In the event of any dispute over the conduct of a meeting, the Chair's decision shall be final. 

e) Resolutions: Any member may propose a resolution for discussion at a General Meeting. To ensure that a resolution is discussed, it should be submitted, in writing to the Secretary, along with the names of the Proposer and a Seconder, in time for it to be circulated to the Members 4 weeks in advance of the relevant meeting. Any member may propose a resolution at a General Meeting, but in this case, it will be the Chair's decision whether or not it will be put to the Meeting. Resolutions proposing alterations to the Constitution may only be put to an Annual General Meeting. 

8. FINANCE

a)  All monies raised by the Committee shall be applied to further the objects of the Society (see paragraph 2 above) and for no other purpose. 

b)  No member of the Committee shall normally be paid fees or receive any remuneration other than out-of-pocket expenses agreed in advance, on submission of receipts. 

c)  The Treasurer shall keep proper accounts of the finances of the Society and shall pay all monies not immediately required into a bank account in the name of the Society. The funds of the Society shall be held in a bank account, with three signatories, of whom any two may authorise payments. 

d)  The accounts shall be passed to an independent examiner to be appointed at the AGM. The completed accounts for each year shall be passed to the independent examiner two months before the AGM, so that they can be circulated to the Members with the AGM papers. 

e)   In the event of the Society’s dissolution, all liquid assets, after debt clearance, shall be donated to a relevant registered charity. Other assets shall pass to the Cromarty and District Community Council. 

9. ALTERATIONS

Proposals to alter this Constitution must be ratified by a resolution adopted by an Annual General Meeting of the Society. Alterations must be approved by a simple majority of members present.



ALLOTMENT RULES - from 1st July 2012

A copy of these allotment rules may be downloaded in PDF format (72k)

The intention of the Rules is to ensure that the allotments are worked to a high standard, and to help allotmenteers get along with each other amicably. It has taken many years to get allotment land in Cromarty, and there is a waiting list, so if you are finding it difficult to maintain your plot please consult the committee so that a solution to the problem can be found.

1. Plot-holder responsibilities, and plot and allotments maintenance
a) Only paid-up members of the Cromarty Allotments and Gardens Society (henceforth referred to as 'the Society') are eligible to rent plots.
b) Plots are leased to Society members by the Society and may not be sub-let by plot-holders.
c) Allotments are provided for the personal use of plot-holders. Plot-holders may not operate their plot as a business.
d) No person is permitted to hold more than one plot leased by the Society.
e) Plot-holders must maintain their plots and cultivate them fully and tidily.
f) Pernicious weeds must be removed from plots and disposed of promptly and properly to prevent the spread of seeds and roots. These include Brambles, Rosebay Willowherb, Bindweed, Dock, Mare's Tail, Creeping Thistle, and Ground Elder.
g) Plot-holders are responsible for maintaining the main paths bordering their allotment in good order, weed-free, level, and free from obstruction. These paths must be maintained at a width of 1.2 metres.
h) If a plot-holder is absent for a significant part of the growing season he/she must arrange for someone to look after the plot during the period of absence. If a plot-holder has problems in arranging cover, he/she should contact a member of the committee.
i) Plot-holders must ensure that plastic, paper, metal, glass, and wood waste does not accumulate on their plots. Rubbish should be removed and disposed of properly in wheelie bins, not left in common areas or along the fences.
j) Plot-holders may dispose of stones from their plot on the adjacent beach, but must ensure that this disposal does not block or damage the public footpath.
k) All plot-holders are expected to help with the general maintenance of the allotment grounds by doing their fair share of tasks such as path care, weeding and infrastructure care and repairs.

2. Permission required - trees, bees, weedkillers, pesticides
a) Plot holders should not normally use chemical pesticides or weedkillers. If, exceptionally, a plot-holder sees a strong need for the use of such pesticides or weedkillers the matter must be referred to the committee for consideration.
b) Cultivation of fruit trees is permitted, but only those varieties grafted onto dwarfing rootstock, and such fruit trees must not exceed 2 metres when fully grown and must be sited and managed so as not to create an obstacle to, or adversely affect, the use of neighbouring allotments.
d) Plot-holders wishing to keep bees must first apply to the committee which will seek the consent of all neighbouring plot-holders and neighbouring property owners.

3. Behaviour - pets, children, other plot-holders
a) Plot-holders must not cause undue nuisance or annoyance to other plot-holders or to the occupants of neighbouring properties, either through an action or inaction, or by rude or offensive behaviour, whether through carelessness, ignorance, or persistent or deliberate action.
b) No pets may be kept at the Allotments. Any plot-holder who brings a dog to the allotments must ensure that it is kept within the confines of their plot and not allowed to wander onto other plots without permission.
c) Plot-holders who bring children to the Allotments are responsible for their safety and behaviour.
d) If any plot-holder has occasion to complain about the behaviour of any other plot-holder, the complaint should be made in writing to the Secretary. The matter will then be discussed by the committee which will attempt to resolve the issue by negotiation. If this fails to effect a solution the matter will be discussed at the next monthly meeting of the Society and a vote taken on whether to issue a formal warning.

4. Security and Safety
a) Society members are covered by the Society's public liability insurance. Non-members must only enter the site if accompanied by plot-holders, and do so at their own risk. As well as being a safety issue, this is clearly specified in our lease with Cromarty Estate.
b) Plot-holders must be aware that they are responsible for their visitors at all times, and should draw their attention to these points:
 1) Allotment paths may be crooked and uneven so they should be careful where they walk, and in particular watch out for obstructions that may be obscured by vegetation.
 2) They must not stray off the paths onto other plot-holders land without their permission, and must avoid treading on recently dug areas to avoid compacting of the soil.
c) Tenants must take responsibility for the security of the allotment site and ensure that gates are kept locked when the allotment is unoccupied.
d) Tenants are advised not to store any items of value on their plot. Tenants should report incidents of theft and vandalism to the police. The Society is not liable for loss by accident, fire, theft or damage of any structures, tools or other possessions kept on the allotment site.
e) Tools should not be left lying around or causing an obstruction as this may cause an accident. Tools should only be used for gardening, and cleaned and returned to the communal shed when finished with.
f) The communal shed is for storing garden tools only, and the door should be kept closed at all times. Young children must not be permitted into the shed or to play with tools as many of these are sharp.
g) Health and safety is the responsibility of all plot-holders and society members. The Society's health and safety policy needs to be understood and followed at all times and any concerns, issues or incidents brought to the committee's attention and recorded.

5. Facilities - The following facilities are available:
a) A water tap is provided near the main entrance to the Allotments. Please note that the drain under the water tap is merely a sump, so mud should not be washed into it or it will clog up.
c) Manure : The committee may arrange from time to time for manure to be brought to the allotment, and plot-holders wishing a share of this will be charged a nominal sum for it. Plot-holders who use manure are responsible for the tidy and hygienic maintenance of the manure on their own plot.
d) Wheelbarrows: Communal wheelbarrows may be kept for plot-holders use. Please report any problems with the barrows to a member of the committee.
e) Noticeboard: The noticeboard sited near the main entrance is available for all plot-holders to use, as well as for the posting of society information.
f) Communal Shed: the padlocked shed is available for the storage of tools. Plot-holders should ensure their names are on their tools, and that tools are stowed tidily in the hut.
g) Equipment for communal use (e.g. a strimmer) may from time to time be purchased by the Society. Where the equipment is of a potentially hazardous nature, the committee will ensure that:
 1) all such equipment has a clear set of instructions for use, available where the equipment is normally kept.
 2) all such equipment has an annual safety and maintenance check. Potentially hazardous equipment should not be used by a member who is alone at the plots.
h) Gates: Allotment holders shall only be permitted access to the site through the locked entrance gates. Gates are secured by combination padlock, and allotment holders are issued with the combination number (same for both padlocks) when allocated a plot. Periodically the combination number may require to be changed, and when this happens all plot-holders will be issued with the new number.

6. Plot Delineation and Fencing
a) Plot holders are responsible for clearly marking and maintaining the border of their plot.
b) Plot holders may erect a fence, boundary or hedge around their plot as long as it
 1) does not exceed a maximum height of 1 metre
 2) remains entirely within the boundaries of the plot-holder's plot unless agreed otherwise with the neighbouring plot holder.
 3) does not cast excessive shade on neighbouring plots or otherwise affect them adversely.

7. Termination of Lease/Expulsion of Society Members
a) All members should be aware that when they sign this "Missive" each year, they are signing a legal document and are required to keep to the Rules of the Society.
b) The committee has the power to Terminate a Lease after due process on grounds of inadequate plot maintenance, or complaints of neglect from other plot-holders, at any time. Plot neglect is defined as it being uncultivated for 2 months OR being populated with rampant or seeding weeds.
c) If a plot falls below the required standard of maintenance, the complaint procedure will be as follows . . .
 1) A complaint is received by the committee of the poor standard or neglect of a particular plot.
 2) Plot is inspected by the committee to see if the neglect is real.
 3) The matter is discussed at the next monthly meeting of the Society, any mitigating circumstances considered, and a vote taken whether to issue an initial warning. If this is agreed, the the Secretary will issue a letter of warning giving the plot-holder 21 days to respond.
 4) If no response is received from the plot holder within 21 days and there is no improvement in the upkeep of the plot, a further warning will be issued giving a further 14 days to respond. If there is still no response, a final warning giving 7 days will be issued. Following the expiry of this time, the plot-holder will be notified to vacate their plot within 14 days.
d) A lease will automatically be terminated for non-payment of Rent and/or Society Fees, by the due date.
e) If any serious complaint/s is/are made against a plot-holder, this will be discussed at the next monthly Society meeting and a vote taken whether to issue a warning or expel the plot-holder from membership of the Society. Following the discussion the plot-holder will be notified of the Society's decision.
g) Any member who wishes to terminate his/her membership, or who has it terminated, has the right to remove anything they have put there but must leave the plot in a tidy and usable condition for the next plot-holder.

8. Specific Rules imposed by Cromarty Estate, from whom the land is leased by CAGS
a) It is not permitted to keep animals or poultry on the Land nor to erect any buildings or sheds or other erections on the Land save 1) the erection and maintenance of a single compact shed for the storage of tools.
b) Working of the allotment may only be undertaken between the hours of 7am and 11pm each day, and noise levels must be limited so as not to constitute a nuisance to neighbouring proprietors.
c) Members must not harm any wildlife, including their nests and/or eggs.

9. committee responsibilities/Changes in Rules etc
a) The Society committee may propose alterations to the allotment rules at any time. Proposed changes will be emailed to all members 30 days before the AGM/EGM. Objections to proposed changes MUST be received not later than 7 days before the AGM/EGM. The proposed changes will be discussed and voted upon at the AGM/EGM before coming into effect,  and revised rules will then supplied to all members.
b) It is the responsibility of the committee to make all plot-holders aware of the Society's Constitution, the Allotment Rules, and to organise Meetings of the Society as required, in particular, the AGM.
c) The committee undertakes to keep plot-holders well informed about the Society and its activities.
 


 

Health and Safety

Cromarty Allotments & Gardens Society has a health and safety policy in place, with a regular review taking place. You can download copies of the policy and the risk assessment form.