Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

16th February 2009 Bluecoat School 10.30

Present - John O'Neill (Chair) Greenheart Partnership Board; Tom Price (Vice Chair) & Peter Taylor Wigan Civic Trust; Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists); Dave Wilson, Bickershaw Conservation Group; Neil Forshaw - George Formby Society; Tom Glover & Brian Parr Wigan Archaeology Society; Vincent France & Jackie Robberts E.T.N.A.; Richard Sivil - Atherton Heritage Society; David Smallcross & Anthony Bishop Leigh Ornithological Society; Simon Martin - Lancs Local History Federation; Ken Barston Stubshaw Cross Residents Group; Ray Hutchinson Wigan Parish Church; Peter Goodwin - Mirabilis Media; Carol Tyldesley Heritage Services WLTC; Colin Ives Transition Town Wigan.

Apologies - David Lythgoe Friends of Wigan Heritage; Clare Brennan Over 50's Forum; Margaret Harrop & Glenys McClellan - Leigh & District Family History Society; Carol Littler (Local Historian); Peter Guy (Treasurer) Gin Pit Village; Geoff Jones - Astley Green Colliery Museum; Norma Ackers (Independent Local Historian); Mike Scarisbrick Groundwork; John Hill, Philip Butler and Rachel Orme - Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust;

1.0. Announcements:

1.1. The chair made a number of announcements concerning heritage including the following issues related to Wigan in Bloom:

· It was suggested that members or member groups could adopt a monument, use flowers to decorate it and 'put it on the map'.
· Gateways into the Borough are being planted up, e.g. on the East Lancs Road and the centre of Leigh is having a willow structure on the reservation.
· A chewing-gum machine will be used to clean up our streets.
· Green Flag status has been awarded to Pennington Flash and Ashton Park.
· Work on Mesnes Park will commence in April

1.2. The Town Centre manager has responded about the defacing of the town centre mosaic by fairground roundabouts etc. Interpretation boards will be erected in Wigan and Leigh. They will cost in the region of £5000 each if they are to be vandal proof.

1.3. The Wigan & Leigh Town Centre Trails booklets need updating. Anyone able to help should contact the conservation officer or Mike Mathews, the town centre manager. Carol Tyldesley (WL&CT) is also able to help.

1.4. B&Q are offering funding for heritage projects and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust can offer funding of up to £10,000.

2.0. Minutes of the last meeting - Agreed as true and accurate record.

3.0. Matters arising

3.1. Ian Harrison has responded in regards to items on the Township Forum agendas. The next session of Township Forum meetings will have presentations about Wigan in Bloom.

4.0. Heritage Network DVD & Resource Pack:

4.1. Peter Goodwin explained how the sub-group had met with teachers at Abram Guest School to ascertain how they and those pupils partaking in the project wish to proceed. After much consideration, he suggested that two DVD's are produced - one for the schools and a separate DVD concerning the heritage of Wigan Borough. This course of action was agreed upon by the meeting.

5.0. Report on the Heritage Sub Group:

5.1. Carol Tyldesley reported that the Curating in the Community fund application forms are now available. Grants of up to £2000 are available to local organisations. The heritage magazine, 'Past Forward' would like to have articles submitted by interested groups and individuals. Tom Glover suggested that the group invite someone from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust to give a presentation on the restoration of Mesnes Park which is due to commence in April this year.
Action: John O'Neill to arrange this.

6.0. Report on the Art & Heritage Learning Centre:

6.1 Due to the current economic problems it looks as though this project will be shelved for the time being. Some work will be done around the engine at Trencherfield Mill. As a result, it looks likely that the Drumcroon building will continue to be used. Avis Freeman inquired about the Heritage Map, now that work has commenced on the History Shop. 21 pieces will be redisplayed in local schools and community centres and it is hoped that the remaining ones will go on display at Wigan Hospital.

7.0. Update on Greenheart Project:

7.1. The European Regeneration Funding agreement for this project has been signed off. Funding has been obtained for a feasibility study on Wigan Flashes. Initially, the focus will be on three sites. The first phase of the wetland project has been finalised. Dave Wilson and Avis Freeman reported on a positive meeting with the project coordinator to get local people involved at an early stage. This is a very big project that will take many years to complete. It might be advisable to bring in 'Friends Off' type groups for the various sections of the project.

8.0. Update on Open Days 2009:

8.1. Tom Price reported that Civic Trust will publish a list of participating buildings on its website www.heritageopendays.org.uk/contact It was suggested that members get involved and try to get local buildings open at sometime during the period 10th - 13th September inclusive.
Carol Tyldesley and Tom Price will be prominent on this issue. Members with knowledge regarding participating local buildings are asked to inform the secretary for circulation.

9.0. Report on Cultural Partnership Executive meeting:

9.1. The secretary reported that health and wellbeing via involvement in cultural activities would be the theme for the Cultural Partnership Convention to be held on 4th July. It was suggested at that meeting that efforts should be made to bring in the wider community by asking for ideas regarding cultural events and then assist in bringing these ideas into reality so that the public own the projects rather that having projects created on their behalf. He asked if anyone present would like to be involved in arranging this year's Cultural Partnership Convention. Tom Glover indicated that he was willing.

10.0. Members News:

10.1 There was some discussion regarding this agenda item and the time it takes to relate such news verbally. It was suggested that member organisations should email in their news reports to assist with the logistics of recording and that for the next meeting (March 30) members news will be the first item on the agenda.

11.0. Any Other Business:

11.1 Brian Parr requested that the planning department be approached regarding regulations pertaining to development due to the archaeological importance of sites situated in the Wigan area, now that it is becoming evident that Wigan was of much greater importance on the development of Roman Britain than was previously realised.
Action: John O'Neill will investigate on behalf of the network.

11.2. There is a full days programme (9.30 - 4.30) Feb 28th at Lowton Civic Centre regarding Roman activity in northwest England. Interested people should contact Diana Winterbotham 01204 707885.

11.3. Peter Guy has resigned as treasurer. It was agreed that the secretary will perform this task until another treasurer emerges.

11.4. The Heritage Lottery Fund is holding an awareness day for organisations wishing to qualifly for large grants on the 26th March. Inerested parties should contact Carol Tyldesley at WL&CT.

12.0. Time date of next meeting - 10.30am Monday 30th March, Tudor House, Hindley