Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30am Monday 1st September 2008

Wigan History Shop


Present - John O'Neill (Chair, Greenheart Partnership Board) Joe Taylor (Billinge History & Heritage Society), Norma Ackers (Independent Local Historian), Margery Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Dave Wilson, Avis Freeman, Vincent Price & June Trumble (ETNA), Carl Littler (Local Historian), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Tom Glover (Wigan Archaeological Society), Peter Guy (Gin Pit Village), David Lythgoe (Friend of Wigan Heritage), Tom Price & Peter Taylor (Wigan Civic Trust), Jason Kennedy (Wigan MBC), Philip Butler (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust)

Apologies - John Hill & Zenno Vattev (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Brian Parr (Wigan Archaeological Society), Rev Ray Hutchinson (Wigan Parish Church), Glenys McLennan (Leigh and District Family History Society), Barbara Rhodes (Aspull and Haigh Heritage Society), Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media), Nigel Morley Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers, Geoff Jones (Red Rose Steam Society, Astley Green Colliery Museum)

1.0. Welcome and introductions

1.1. John O'Neill welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2.0. Apologies

2.1. Apologies were noted and recorded.

3.0. Wigan Heritage Strategy 2003 - 2007.

3.1. It was agreed that the Wigan Heritage Strategy document was out of date and needed to be replaced with a new heritage strategy. Members were asked to review the old document, particularly page 4, 23 and pages 32 - 37 and feedback any comments or ideas to John Hill (WLCT) as soon as possible.

Action: Members to review Wigan Heritage Strategy 2003 - 2007, pages 4 - 23 and 32 - 37. Members to contact John Hill ASAP regarding any comments or ideas

4.0. Minutes of the last Meeting

4.1. The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed, discussed and accepted as a true and accurate record.

5.0. Matters Arising.

5.1. John O'Neill reported that Carole Tyldesley had been on leave and to date had not met with her to discuss the possibility of developing a co-ordinated strategy via the Heritage Sub-Group. He said that he would arrange to meet with her when she returned and would report the findings at the next meeting.

Action: John O'Neill to meet with Carol Tyldesley to discuss the possibility of developing a co-ordinated strategy via the Heritage Sub-Group. John to report back at next meeting

6.0. The Amalgamation of ETNA & Heritage Network

6.1. Avis Freeman, Dave Wilson, Vincent Price and June Trumble updated about the amalgamation of the two Networks. They stated that ETNA, the Heritage Network and four other community networks in the Borough did not fall under the seven 'social identities' criteria set by the LSP and Central Government. It was revealed that these groups and any future groups that fell outside the social identities would have to be self sufficient.

Finally they concluded by stating the decision to amalgamate was logical, because ETNA and the Heritage Network had similar areas of overlapping interest, particularly relating to the conservation of the natural environment.

6.2. Tom Price agreed with the concept.

6.3. Philip Butler stated that he welcomed diversification but questioned whether the Heritage Network would be able to include all of ETNA's agenda.

6.4. Peter Guy thought that the amalgamation of the two networks made good economic sense because it would be easier to find financial support for one organisation, rather than two.

6.5. Joe Taylor expressed his concern regarding the Borough losing the capacity and expertise of ETNA's key members if ETNA was disbanded.

6.6. The group agreed in principal that ETNA could be amalgamated into the Heritage Network subject to approval at the next full ETNA meeting in two weeks. Joe Taylor said that he would attend the meeting on behalf of Heritage Network.

Action: Joe Taylor to attend ETNA meeting and report findings at the next Wigan Borough Heritage Network meeting

7.0. Archaeology Dig at the Children's Library

7.1. It was reported that several members of the Heritage Network visited the site and were impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm shown by the personnel working there. Joe said that a superb article relating to the visit was published in the Wigan Evening Post.

7.2. Tom Price said that he was impressed with the amount of information relayed about the mediaeval findings.

7.3. Tom Glover reported that a slab of stone uncovered at the Grand Arcade site had been analysed and was highly likely to have come from Roman Wigan times and in his opinion he believed that there could be a Roman quarry a short distance north of the present Tesco site.

8.0 Leigh Girls' Grammar School

8.1. Avis Freeman reported at length about the struggle to preserve the building. She explained that the conservation officer believed that it was the best unlisted building in the Borough. Avis went on to say that planning permission had given to demolish the former Girls' Grammar School and that the last remaining hope to preserve it lay with English Heritage. She concluded by saying that English Heritage would soon assess the building to determine whether it should be listed.

8.2. John O'Neil expressed that this unfortunate saga, underlined the importance of the Heritage Network being involved in the planning process at an early stage. He said that he would discuss this issue when he meets with Martin Kimber (Director of Environmental Services) in the coming weeks.

Action: John O'Neil to discuss Heritage Network being involved with planning processes when he meets with Martin Kimber

9.0. Upcoming Events for 2009

9.1. John O'Neill expressed his opinion on how the Heritage Network could spread ideas about heritage and one example was by highlighting the Lancashire Day. He circulated a paper about this topic to the group.

9.2. Vince Price echoed John's comments and explained about the prestige of having 'Lancashire' displayed on boundary signs.

9.3. The group agreed that people in the Borough, including the group, did not celebrate Local History Day as they should do and could do more to support this.

9.4. Regarding the topic of open days for local heritage sites, Philip Butler informed that the History Shop would hold a public tour at 10.15am on Saturday 13 September 08 and another one at Trencherfield Mill at 11.00am on Sunday 14 September 08.

10.0. Member Reports:

10.1. As time was pressing due to the long discussions on the previous agenda items, the group agreed to keep this section of the meeting brief.

10.2. Carol Littler reported that the War Memorial at St John's Sandishgate had been saved and placed in storage.

10.2. Margery Harrop inquired as to what length of time the History Shop would be closed as a result of renovations.

10.3. Philip Butler explained that work would start on 25th December and was expected to be completed by next Autumn.

10.4. Tom Glover stated that the Archaeology Society had uncovered a road in Ince that was likely to be Roman. He also said that work at the Rectory site was still ongoing and progressing well.

10.5. John thanked everyone again for attending and closed the meeting.

11.0. Time and Date of Next Meeting 10.30am Monday 13th October Wigan History Shop

Joe Taylor
September 08