Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

30th March 2009 Tudor House 10.30am

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 (Wigan Archaeological Society); Jackie Roberts (E.T.N.A); Richard Sivil (Atherton Heritage Society); Anthony Bishop (Leigh Ornithological Society); Carol Littler (Local Historian); Simon Martin (Lancs Local History Federation); Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group); Andy Bond, Carol Tyldesley & John Hill (Wigan Leisure &Culture Trust); Colin Ives (Transition Town Wigan); Joe Taylor (Billinge History / Heritage Society); Glenys McClellan (Leigh & District Family History Society); Nigel Morley (Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers);

Apologies - Ray Hutchinson (Wigan Parish Church); Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media); David Smallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society), David Lythgoe (Friends of Wigan Heritage); Margaret Harrop (Leigh & District Family History Society); Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum); Norma Ackers (Independent Local Historian); Mike Scarisbrick Groundwork Wigan); Philip Butler, Rachel Orme and Zenno Vattev (Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust);

1.0. Mesnes Park Restoration Project:

1.1. Andy Bond gave a presentation and explained that there had been an ongoing consultation process for three years now funded by HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) and stated that the first phase application had been submitted to the local planning authority. He centred his presentation on the café pavilion, the bandstand, the Dalton Steps, the Coalbrook Fountain, Pulham water feature, the Powell Monument and also the lodge building which will eventually be developed for community use and admin for the park.

Andy also informed that the park would be used as an educational facility for key stage 1 and 2 primary school children and other relevant interest groups. He said that the development process had enabled a strategy for all the parks in the borough to be formed. Finally Andy answered questions that related to the accessibility of Mesnes Park, parking issues in and around it and questions about other parks in the borough. The chair thanked Andy for his excellent presentation.

2.0. Members News.

2.1. Joe reported that the previous meeting agreed for 'Members News' to be pushed up the Agenda and given a 40 minute time slot. Everyone present shared about their groups work and agreed that this was a worthwhile exercise because it reinforced the contribution member groups and individuals make to the welfare of the borough. It also allowed members to gain a broader insight into heritage and environmental matters. The group agreed that this format would be repeated periodically and Joe promised to circulate electronic versions of 'Members News' update reports to everyone prior to each meeting.

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

4.0. Matters Arising:

4.1. Tom Price commented about the continuing defacement of the town centre mosaic. The Chair informed Tom of the measures that the Town Centre Manager was undertaking to record damage by users.

5.0. History Shop Workshop (Draft Layout Content):

5.1. Carole Tyldesley updated the meeting regarding the draft plans for the new exhibition at the History Shop and noted comments. She also asked for 'Curating in the Community' project applications to be forwarded to Heritage Services before 17th April ready for the next board. Grants of up to £2000 are available to local organisations. Members were also reminded that articles are welcomed for inclusion in Past Forward magazine together with information on your societies and related activities. Advertisement space is available.

Feedback was given on the recent HLF awareness day, which was well attended by many network representatives. Grants are available from £3k to £50k for 'Your Heritage' projects and larger capital grants over £50k are also available. Wigan has been given 'Priority Area' status over the next 3 years therefore the borough is able to benefit from increased funding for projects which meet the HLF criteria, learning, participation and conservation. Don't miss out on any of the above opportunities and talk to Carole or Rachel on Wigan 828128 for more details.

6.0. Strategic Links Update:

6.1. Joe Taylor described the Local Strategic Partnership Structure (See appendix 1) indicating the links between it and the Heritage Network.

6.2. He also requested that the group nominate a second representative to assist him at Encompass (the strategic body of the community network), of which Heritage Network is a member. Colin Ives' nomination was accepted by the meeting.

6.3. John O'Neill stressed the importance of members becoming involved at a more strategic level such as the Township Forums, so that Heritage matters become ingrained into the governance structure of the borough. He said that Encompass has been empowered to organise an electoral college for community representation on the new community operational body ASCEND (Association for Social Community and Environmental Network Development). Members were encouraged to attend the next ASCEND meeting at Wigan Town Hall Wednesday 15th April.

7.0. Any Other Business:

7.1. John Hill reported that he would not be able to offer administration support to Heritage Network after the next AGM to be held on 22nd June. He continued and said that he and Zenno would support groups regarding capacity building (skill building) and funding issues and finished by saying that he had thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the network.

7.2. Joe stated that John's contribution to the Heritage Network had been substantial.

7.3. John O'Neill reported that Mark Champion (Lancashire Wildlife Trust) would give a short presentation at the next meeting emphasising the importance of community engagement.

7.4. Joe stated that the network should be renamed the 'Heritage & Environment Network' and this would be discussed at the AGM.

8.0. Time date of next meeting - 10.30am Monday 11th May, Tudor House