Second Annual Report:  December 2011.
 
The Federation has arrived at the end of our first full year. And for the officers it has been a very busy year.  A lot has been achieved behind the scenes.  Although much of our work is still in embryo and as yet invisible, the seeds have been sown and hopefully the coming years will yield us a strong healthy Federation.
 
West Lancashire Borough Council continues to assist us regarding the current provision of allotments. They have now completed their programme of setting up a water supply on all of their sites. They do however make life very difficult where planning permission is required.  A landowner at Halsall has a site large enough to accommodate 70+ allotment plots. But unfortunately planning permission has just been refused. They do of course have very good reasons for this, but it is such a shame when so many people are desperate to get out there and grow their own produce. The long running saga of the new leases for the self-managed sites continues with just a glimmer of light due to be shed early in the New Year. 
 
There is no shortening of waiting lists in the Borough. Last year the Federation offered to keep and maintain the Borough’s waiting list for them.  We still await their decision on this.  There is some talk of local authorities contracting out the management of their allotments as they have done with some of their other services.  There is a whisper that one local authority is considering contracting out the management of all their allotment sites to the local Federation.  It seems to me that this may be a sensible way to go, certainly better than management by a third party with no knowledge of allotments.  Maybe this is a step the Federation can consider taking in the future?
 
Now at the end of 2011 allotment sites in the Borough have increased to seventeen, two more than last year. These are St. Teresa’s Allotment Group Upholland and The Plant Place Bickerstaffe, a private landowner. Together these two offer over 70 new plots.

There are now eight organised societies in the Borough.  Plots now number in excess of 290 of varying sizes, with most occupied.  The expected new site at Newburgh did not happened as planned, but I here there is still hope, and there is more activity in Appley Bridge. While we continue to support all of these new developments we must unfortunately report that the biggest demand for allotments is still centred on Skelmersdale (128) and Burscough (84) where available land is less easy to come by.  The search continues.
 
During 2011 we have managed to get all the working local authority sites within the Borough to take an active interest in what we are doing. Our aim for the coming year must be to plant the seeds of interest on to the other sites and bring these groups into the Federation family.
 
The Federation website has been online for most of the year and is being used.  There have been over 1000 hits so far, and a few contacts made resulting in new names added to the waiting lists.
 
Once again we must thank West Lancs Community Food Growing and West Lancs Council for Voluntary Service for their help and support during the year.

And a special thank you to The Co-operative Community Fund for a massive contribution to our core funds.
 
At this Annual General Meeting it is the turn of the Chair to stand down. I have now completed my appointed two years.  The next Chairman will be elected at this meeting to serve for three years.  Although I could take on this role again I feel it would be in the interest of the Federation for someone from another part of the Borough to take the chair.
I would then happily continue to serve the Federation in a supporting role.
 
In closing I would like to thank everyone who has supported both me, and the West Lancashire Allotments Federation during the past two years.
 
Ray Fowler
Chairman.