Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

Minutes of the meeting held on Friday 30th November 2007 at Wigan Baths

Present: Keith Douglas (Standish Community Forum), Carol Littler (Orrell History researcher), Tom Price (Civic Trust), Jason Kennedy (Conservation Officer), Tom Glover (Wigan Archaeology Society), Joe Taylor (Billinge History/Heritage Society) and Philip Butler & Zenno Vattev (L&CT)

Apologies: Glenys McClellan & Margery Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Ray Hutchinson (Wigan Parish Church), Barbara Rhodes (Aspull & Heigh Historical Society), Brain Parr (Wigan Archaeology Society), John Hesketh (L&CT) and Emma Scott (CEP)

Minutes of Last Meeting: True and Accurate

Matters Arising: - none


Glenys McClellan has written in to say that the workshops, manned by volunteer from Leigh & District Family History Society on Monday afternoons, are proving to be a success with several inquiries every week. Some people are travelling from as far away as Shropshire to find out how to trace their ancestors in the Wigan & Leigh area. The Leigh Family History Society has been asked to write a report for the next issue of Past Forward and will be working on providing a 'Getting Started Pack' in the New Year.

Jason Kennedy received a letter from the Friends of the Boer War Memorial saying they objected to the memorial being moved from its original position.

Tom Glover reported that the Archaeology Society had conducted a resistivity survey in Mesnes Park and found an indication of where the memorial statue might be. The organisation is concentrating its efforts on the Roman Road, as there is very little evidence of the Roman Occupation or Lancashire. It is thought that Lancashire was under military rule for 300 years and that the roads were primarily for military rather than commercial use. They will be auguring at St Williams School from 9th June 2008 and conducting a resistivity survey 16th June 2008 at Ince Central School. Corner Nook Lane is a valuable historic site that has been granted planning permission for housing development. Jason will look into the possibility of all planning applications being required to have an archaeology clearance.

Tom Price reported that proposed new Abraham Guest School would take away the last remaining section of Clarke's Wagon Road at Kitt Green. This is thought to be one of the first railway lines in the UK to have a steam engine providing the power for moving freight, in this case coal. The engine was known as Blenkinsop's Loco or the Yorkshire Horse.

Curating in the Community:

Three projects underway at the moment with a second phase of funding planned for March next year. These include the above-mentioned dig for the Roman Road in Ince by Wigan Archaeology Society, the poll of Wigan borough's favourite buildings by the Civic Trust and an oral history project by the Foundation for the Integration of Communities in Pemberton.

New Opening Hours for History Shop and Leigh Archives:

Opening hours at both these venues will be increased shortly and a press release has been issued with exact times. There has been a successful Heritage Lottery bid to refurbish the History Shop, work on which is expected to start around September 2008.

The details
History Shop
Monday 10am - 4pm
Tuesday 10am - 4pm
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday 10am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 1pm
Sunday Closed

Leigh Archives open by appointment

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 10am - 1pm & 2pm - 4pm

Leigh Local History at Leigh Library

Monday 10am - 7pm (Alternate Weeks)
Thursday 9.30am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 3pm (Alternate Weeks)

Progress with the Heritage DVD Funding Application:

Zenno Vattev, Emma Scott, John Hesketh and Joe Taylor meet and agreed on the content for an 'Awards for All' funding application. It needs two people to sign it off and this will be done ASAP. Joe will sign as chair and Emma as the contact for inquiries.

BLINT list update:

Tom Price, chair of Civic Trust, commented that this is the most important project, as far as heritage is concerned, that has ever happened in the Borough.

Jason reported that he is working on the nomination form now and expects that the process will start in January/February. The nomination from will be made available online, via the council website, and will be open for 4-5 months. When the nominations are in, a selection panel will asses them to see if they meet the criteria and the updated BLINT list will be become a supplementary planning document within the Local Development Framework, giving local heritage a degree of protection it has never had before.

This project is being seen as an example of good practice for other councils. We have already been approached by the conservation officer from Knowsley and St Helens Heritage Network are pressing for St Helens planning department to adopt the same policy.

Bill Humphries from the GIS department has offered to come along to a Heritage Network meeting and give members training in using the interactive online nomination from.

It is recognised that the BLINT list update will be an ongoing project and that it will always be open for new nominations.

It could be that a number of conservation areas are proposed as a direct result of the BLINT list update. Copies of the proposed Atherton Conservation Area are available for consultation at the History Shop or online form the council website

GPS Training:

Heritage Network has received a grant of £750 from Bolton Business Ventures towards the total of £881.25 (including VAT) required for specialised training in the use of GPS hardware and software by the Korec Group of Liverpool. Billinge History/Heritage Society has donated a further £150 to cover the deficit. Joe Taylor will undergo the training on January 7th 2008. Heritage Network will then possess the capacity to record the GPS coordinates of nominations to the BLINT list, record all relevant data concerning the nominations, attach digital photos of the nominations to the data, convert the data to GIS format and upload the data to the GIS department.

Heritage Network Representation at Other Forums:

It is still not clear what community representative places will be available on the Wigan Borough Partnership and Thematic Partnerships after an upcoming restructure. A working group has been established to look into this December 17 and then take recommendations back to the next WBP meeting.

Due to family matters, Joe Taylor will not be available for some time after Christmas. Tom Price has agreed to chair Heritage Network in Joe's absence. The secretarial duties will need to be addressed at the next meeting.

Tom Price will also continue to represent Heritage Network on our peak body, Encompass.

Dates and Venues for Next Year:

Until such time as the members decide to make other arrangements, Heritage Network will meet every six weeks, alternating between Mondays and Fridays, at the conference room at Wigan Baths.

The next meetings will be therefore Monday 7th Jan then Friday February 22nd at 11 am.