Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

held on Monday 8 May 2006 at Wigan History Shop

Present : Joe Taylor (Billinge History & Heritage Society),Pat Grimshaw (Leigh Family History Group), Irene Nicholson (Gin Pit Home Watch), Peter Guy (Gin Pit Home Watch / Borough Wide Community Network), John Wogan (Wigan Family History Society), Philip Butler (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust / History shop), Michael Kennedy (Golborne History Society), Tom Glover (Wigan Archaeological Society), David Devine & Ron Hunt (Wigan World), Marion & Geoff Brown (Billinge History & Heritage Society), Katy Crowson (Wigan & Leigh Community Empowerment Programme).

Minutes taken by : Sally Bowes (Student at Wigan &Leigh Community Empowerment Programme).

Issues discussed were:

Village Green Status

Peter Guy informed the group that Gin Pit Village attained this status, which is similar but better that green belt status. www.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/townsvillages/villagegreens.htm.

For an area with Village Green Status to be development, a similar sized area must be provided in the immediate vicinity to replace it.

Involving the community in decision making

Joe Taylor discussed that the government is pushing this. Philip Butler suggested that the local authority will involve the community and that heritage is under the auspices of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust. Philip thought that this group may be used as a communications group to feed into the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, as part of the 10 year Heritage Plan

The Local Strategic Partnership

It was suggested that a member of this Heritage Network could be invited to sit on the Cultural strategic Partnership. Katy Crowson explained the Local Strategic Partnership, its composition and the role of the Community Empowerment Programme within it.

She suggested that people might benefit from attending an ‘All Networks Meeting’, to see what other groups are doing in the area and to contact her for details of the next one.

Information can be found at www.wiganvoices.com or by phoning 01942 514234

Guest speakers at meetings

Michael Kennedy indicted that he would like contact details of guest speakers for Golborne History Society. John Wogan replied that his group sells a book that contains a list of speakers.

Funding and Constitutions

There was a discussion about funding for community groups. To qualify for funding a group must have a constitution and a bank account with at least 2 signatories. If any groups need information on this topic, there is a group’s development worker at CVS called Louise Brown. She can be contacted on 01942 514234.

Pat Grimshaw added that she had received funding as a group for church gates in Ashton to be restored.

Insurance and liability

Tom Glover mentioned that it is difficult for their group to excavate, as the local authority requires the group to have £5 million public liability insurance. Peter Guy suggested the British Trust for Conservation Organisation, which gives public liability up to this figure under Zurich .

Wigan Archaeological Society

Tom Glover explained how his group are in charge of the Monuments Register that is referred to by planning. Tom also discussed how the group have helped to restore the fountain at Mesnes Park by finding the ram pump

Heritage Mapping of Orrell & Billinge

Joe Taylor showed the map of the heritage assets for the Orrell Ward, prepared for Karen May from Heritage Lottery, who has been working for Leisure and Culture Trust on this project. This is a pilot scheme and if it is successful it could be done throughout the Borough.

Joe explained that the problem in Billinge is that new houses are being built which are not in character with the village. Joe showed everyone a copy of the questionnaire sent to residents by their group to define the character of the village. From this information, a planning document to consider design will be included in the St Helens Local Development Framework.

He suggested that a long term strategy for this Heritage Network might be to map the points of Heritage Significance across he entire Borough and then, via the Culture Strategic Partnership, Leisure and Culture Trust and other municipal departments, to develop strategies to protect Heritage Assets via statutory regulation.

Type of group this may become and possible aims

It was suggested that the group could be used as an umbrella group, to bring together a broad range of groups that are concerned with heritage. This will be addressed further at the next meeting. Joe Taylor and Peter Guy will draft a set of Aims and Objectives for the group, to be considered at the next meeting.

Agenda for next meeting

It was agreed that this would be written by Joe Taylor and Peter Guy and will be sent to members via email before the meeting, for any suggestions. Lynn Kay, Partnership Support Officer for the Community Engagement Team will be invited to the next meeting to explain how the new Heritage Network might best fit into the structure of the Local Strategic Partnership.

Next meeting

Monday 12 th June at Wigan History shop 11 am .