Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30am Monday 24th November 2008

Wigan History Shop


Present - John O'Neill (Chair, Greenheart Partnership Board) Joe Taylor (Billinge History & Heritage Society), Norma Ackers (Independent Local Historian), Avis Freeman & Dave Wilson (ETNA), Carol Littler (Local Historian), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Tom Glover (Wigan Archaeological Society), Peter Taylor (Wigan Civic Trust), John Hill, Philip Butler & Zenno Vattev (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Nigel Morley (Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers), Peter Guy (Gin Pit Village), Clare Brennan (Over 50's), David Lythgoe (Friends of Wigan Heritage), Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage Society)

Apologies - Tom Price (Civic Trust), Ian Holdcroft, Glenys McLennan & Margery Harrop (Leigh and District Family History Society), Jackie Roberts, Vincent France & June Trumble (ETNA), Jason Kennedy (Wigan MBC), Brian Parr (Wigan Archaeological Society), Rev Ray Hutchinson (Wigan Parish Church), Barbara Rhodes (Aspull and Haigh Heritage Society), Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media),

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. Heritage Network DVD and Resource Pack

3.1. Joe announced that the group had secured £9k from Awards For All to deliver a heritage project and that the funds had been deposited into the Heritage Network Bank Account.

3.2. Zenno explained that the Network in partnership with Wigan Council Children and Young People Services and Wigan leisure and Culture Trust, would frame a new perspective on Wigan's past through the exploration of conservation areas, buildings of local importance and frequently recounted stories particular to different areas; the identification of neighbourhood icons, historical legacies and the basis for community identity. When the film and complimentary resource pack are produced, they would help teachers to bring elements of the Key Stage 3 Curriculum to life with links to citizenship, democracy, the environment, human rights and leisure.

Zenno also reported that Abraham Guest, St John Fisher and Bedford High Schools were interested parties and had identified around 30 children that were willing to take part in the research and the interviewing of local people to record stories of local importance.

3.3. John O'Neill stated that it was a very good project, but would need a sub-group to deliver it properly.

3.4. John Hill stated that he and Zenno would not be in a position to lead the project, but would offer project management and action planning support to the steering group.

3.5. The group discussed the issue and agreed that a steering group made up of members from the Heritage Network should meet in the New Year to draft an action plan in agreement with the schools involved and any other relevant parties. Joe Taylor and Clare Brennan agreed to serve on the group and those members not present would also be offered the opportunity to become involved. Progress to be reported at the next meeting.

4.0. Minutes of the last Meeting

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

5.0. Matters Arising.

5.1. John O'Neill reported that Martin Kimber (Director of Environmental Services) had offered to make a presentation on 'Heritage and Planning Process' to a future meeting. Members agreed to invite Martin to the March meeting.

6.0. The Heritage Network Constitution

6.1. The chair raised the issue of what benefits membership of the network brings to both individual and organisation members, which could then be included with a promotional leaflet and also placed on the networks web-site. He invited members to suggest additional benefits to those already contained in the constitution and forward them to the secretary.

6.2. John O'Neill stated that the Heritage Network had been making good progress, but could be more vigorous in its delivery and recruitment process. He believed that the work of the network should be reported as a fixed item on the Township Forum and links with schools. John said that he would contact Katherine Fairclough (Service Director Business Transformation) to discuss the issue.

Action: John O'Neill to meet with Katherine Fairclough to discuss representation of the network at Township Forums

7.0. Funding Issues.

7.1. Zenno Vattev updated the meeting about the changes to the Awards for All scheme. He also said that some difficulties would arise for community organisations trying to obtain funding from Heritage Lottery Fund because of funds being siphoned off for the Olympic Games. Zenno offered his support to network members making funding applications.

7.2. Joe said that he would post Zenno's details on the Heritage Network web-site.

Action: Joe Taylor to post Zenno's details on Heritage Network web-site

8.0 Past Forward:

8.1. John O'Neill reported that Past Forward was an excellent Heritage magazine and to date it had been published 49 times. He stated that it was important for group members to help promote that publication in order to secure its future viability by submitting articles for publication.

8.2. Avis Freeman congratulated the Heritage Services on the magazine and explained how she often sends copies to friends overseas.

9.0. Cultural Partnership Issues:

9.1. John Hill explained about the new make up of the Cultural Partnership and how it would sit in the new EECH (Economy, Environment Culture and Housing) partnership. He explained about how the Full Partnership and Executive Group meetings would be run and how they would fit into the new strategic structures in the borough. John also reported that he was currently in the process of trying to form a Cultural Partnership Environmental sub-group similar to the Heritage one. Finally he said that the next Executive Group meeting was on 1st December at Leigh Indoor Sports Centre.

10.1. Members News:

10.1. Wigan Civic Trust - Peter Taylor reported that the October meeting was well attended and that the Trust's AGM would take place in December.

10.2. Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers - Nigel Morley reminded the group about the model railways exhibition on 13th and 14th December at Robin Park Arena.

10.3. Local History - Carol Littler reported on her work tracing borough-wide war memorials.

10.4. Wigan Archaeological Society - Tom Glover updated about his groups four ongoing projects. He mentioned that many of the terraced houses around the borough were unique in terms of their architecture, because of the many examples of stunning brickwork displayed in them.

10.5. Friends Of Wigan Heritage - David Lythgoe shared that the Friends group had formed a committee to produce a newsletter. He explained that the group were in need of volunteers to help with workshops etc.

10.6. Atherton Heritage Society - Richard Sivill explained that 100 people were regularly attending his group's meeting. He said that it was his first time at Heritage Network meeting and he had enjoyed it. Richard stated that he would attend again in the future.

10.7. History Shop - Philip Butler reported that due to the renovations, family history workshops would be restricted from January 09 and would be re-located to the central library. He went on to say that the next Heritage Network meeting could not be held at the History Shop and that he would look to identify alternative venues with John Hill.

Action: John Hill and Philip Butler to look for alternative venues for future meetings until the History Shop renovations are completed

10.8. Gin Pit Village - Peter Guy reported that he had been researching the history of Gin Pit Village, but has not yet found much evidence from census records about its founding.

10.9. ETNA - Avis Freeman passed on greetings from Allan Pearson, who founded Leigh Civic Trust. She explained that efforts were still being made to prevent Leigh Girls Grammar School from being demolished.

10.10. Dave Wilson conveyed his disappointment about ETNA not being currently involved with the Greenheart Project. He explained that his group had previously been involved and that he had documents to support his claim. The group discussed the issue and agreed to offer support. They also stated that the issue would be addressed at the next meeting when Joanne Harrop (Greenheart Project Manager Environmental Services) had agreed to make a presentation on Greenheart, including progress on the Bickershaw North site.

11.0. Time Date Next meeting - Monday 5th January 2009 - venue to be confirmed

Joe Taylor
November 08