Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

1030 A.M. MONDAY 12TH JANUARY 2009
Present - John O'Neill (Chair) Greenheart Partnership Board; Tom Price (Vice Chair) Wigan Civic Trust; Peter Guy (Treasurer) Gin Pit Village; Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists); Dave Wilson, Bickershaw Conservation Group; Lorraine King - Wigan Council - Carol Littler (Local Historian); Neil Forshaw - George
Formby Society; Tom Glover - Wigan Archaeology Society; Clare Brennan Over 50's Forum; Vincent France E.T.N.A.; Richard Sivil - Atherton Heritage Society; Joan Disley - Leigh Ornithological Society; Jackie Roberts (E.T.N.A.); Margaret Harrop - Leigh & District Family History Society; Glenys McClellan Leigh & District Family History Society; Charlie Owen - Leigh Ornithological Society; Simon Martin - Lancs Local History Federation; Ken Barston Stubshaw Cross Residents Group; Geoff Jones - Astley Green Colliery Museum; Ray Hutchinson - Wigan Parish Church; Peter Goodwin - Mirabilis Media; Jason Kennedy - Wigan Council.
Apologies - Joe Taylor (Secretary) Billinge History & Heritage Society; Norma Ackers (Independent Local Historian); Peter Taylor - Wigan Civic Trust; John Hill, Philip Butler and Zenno Vattev - Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust; David Shalltall.
1.0 Welcome and Introductions.
1.1 John O'Neill welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the Rector Ray Hutchinson for making the necessary arrangements and allowing the network the use of the Blue Coat building for its meetings whilst the History Shop was being restored.
2.0 Apologies.
2.1 Recorded as per list.
3.0 Announcements
3.1 The Chairman drew attention to various matters of heritage interest since the last meeting including local initiatives (public art; trails; Lancs Day; 50th edition of Past Forward; History Shop Heritage Service temporary transfer to Wigan Central Library etc).

4.0 Greenheart and Bickershaw North - Presentation

Joanne Harrop - Project Manager for Greenheart described the vision for the Regional Park Project which would, with its various partners transform a huge area of past industrial dereliction into a diverse range of facilities and habitats within a thriving countryside setting for the benefit of the Borough, the North West region and beyond.
Joanne described how phase one of the development had been implemented including habitat work, improvements to the Bridgewater Canal towpath, construction of an access road and car park enabling work and improvements to the habitat within the Bickershaw site, two phases of the Whelley Loop Line and a multi-user route.
She identified the key objectives for a successful delivery of the project and described the five gateway sites (Wigan Flashes, Bickershaw Pennington Flash, Haigh Hall and Amberswood) which would act as a filter destination for a significant number of visitors. She outlined the development, to date, on the Bickershaw North site which would form a country park within the regional park, stressed the key role of partners and underlined the importance of local residents' involvement and ownership of the project.
In response to members concerns about the level of public consultation, including consideration of local expertise, Joanne said that effective ways of including such contributions were currently under consideration and would be announced shortly.
Additionally, Joanne offered to update the network at regular intervals as the project progressed.

5.0 Heritage Network DVD and Resource Pack Project.
5.1 Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media) described his role in the project and emphasised the need for the proposed steering group to meet in order to agree an action plan in consultation with those schools that had agreed to become involved and report progress to the next meeting.

6.0 Minutes of the 24th November meeting.
6.1 The minutes were approved.
7.0 Matters Arising
7.1. The Chairman reported that he had written to lan Harrison, Head of Neighbourhood Services concerning Township Forum agendas and was awaiting a response.
8.0 Local History Day and Open Days 2009.

8.1 The Chairman suggested that local organisations might wish to consider organising a local history day (national day Saturday 6th June) and/or open days (Sept) in their localities (possibly in' association with local libraries) in order to help promote interest in their work and possibly
encourage new members local schools. Ideas to be fed back to him/secretary and a programme drawn up at the February Network meeting.

9.0 BLINT (Buildings of Local Interest) survey update.

9.1 Jason Kennedy (Conservation & Design Officer) - Indicated that over 1000 submissions had been assessed by a panel under his guidance which included members of the Heritage Network. He outlined the criteria which submissions had to meet and the various stages of the process. A leaflet had been produced which would be sent to each address for those householders' views/approval of their possible inclusion on the "local list". Additional submissions could be forwarded to Jason at anytime.

10.0 Members' News

10.1 Members presented an interesting range of local activities being undertaken by their societies.

11.0 Any Other Business - Nil.

Date of Next Meeting - Monday 16th February 2009 at 10.30 a.m. in the Blue Coat Building.