Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes (Meeting & AGM)

10.30am Monday 22nd June 2009

Tudor House, Hindley

Present - John O'Neill (Greenheart Partnership Board); Joe Taylor (Billinge History / Heritage Society); Tom Price & Peter Taylor (Wigan Civic Trust); Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists); Dave Wilson, (Bickershaw Conservation Group); Anthony Bishop (Leigh Ornithological Society); Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum); Jackie Roberts (E.T.N.A); Colin Ives (Transition Town Wigan); Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media); Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group); Rachel Orme (Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust); Jason Kennedy (Wigan Council Planning)

Apologies - Glenys McClellan & Margery Harrop (Leigh & District Family History Society); Jenny Tunney (WBC) Nigel Morley (Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers); Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage Society); Tom Glover (Wigan Archaeological Society); David Smallcross & Tony Bishop (Leigh Ornithological Society

John O'Neill welcomed those present, noted apologies and opened the meeting.

As Mike Mathews was unable to attend at short notice, Jason Kennedy, the conservation officer, gave a short talk about Wigan's conservation areas, listed buildings and those of local interest.

Throughout the borough, there are 750 listed buildings, eleven ancient monuments, twenty-three conservation areas, thirty park gardens and cemeteries and about 1200 buildings & structures of local interest. Planning has to deal with about 150 planning applications on listed building each year. There are five nationally listed buildings and forty-three locally listed buildings classified as being at risk.

The conservation officer suggested that Council should be encouraged to develop a corporate view regarding Heritage. It should be possible to establish a Heritage/Environment record that could to be put up on the Council website. It would be useful to evidence what chapels remain in the borough (over 100), where they are and when they are open. These building are too valuable to the community to be demolished.

John O'Neill was will invite Dave Molyneux, deputy leader of Council and its Heritage Champion, to a future network meeting and keep him informed on environment and heritage issues.

Chair's Annual Report

The chair then gave a report on the preceding year's progress: membership has expanded, attendance at meetings has been good, a number of informative speakers have given presentations, representatives have regularly attended Partnership and other meetings, ETNA has amalgamated with Heritage Network, we have been consulted by WL&CT regarding the History Shop renovations, visited the archaeology dig at the Weind, helped expand heritage days, began production of two DVD's, maintained the website, supported members groups and established relationships with the Environmental Services Department. It had been a productive year and every indication is that the network would continue to make progress.

Election of committee members:

As per the constitution, the serving committee members resigned and nominations for the coming year considered.

It was moved by Geoff Jones and seconded by Avis Freeman that last year's committee be re-elected - passed unanimously.

It was agreed that Joe Taylor and Colin Ives continue as the Network's reps on Encompass.

Minutes of 2008 AGM:

Accurate and correct - Geoff Jones x Avis Freeman - passed

Matters arising:

Rachel Orme pointed out that although the HFL have not created a funding officer's post, based at the History Shop, she was doing that job on their behalf. Groups needing assistance with HFL applications should contact her.

Rachel reported that the History Shop renovations would be completed by April 2010 and invited the Network to hold its meeting there again.

Amendments to the constitution:

Due to the amalgamation of the former ETNA network with Heritage Network, a sub-group consisting of the chair, vice-chair and secretary had met to draft proposed amendments to the constitution that reflect the inclusion of groups concerned with environmental issues. The proposed amendments, which had been previously circulated for comment, included a change in name to Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network.

It was moved by Avis Freeman and seconded by Dave Wilson that the amended constitution, as tabled, be accepted - passed unanimously.

The chair, vice-chair, secretary, treasurer and committee members present signed off the new constitution.

Geoff Jones noted that care should be taken in the future to ensure that the attention given to heritage was not diluted.

Environment & Heritage Network Action Plan to 2011-12:

A sub-group consisting of the chair, vice-chair and secretary had met to draft the Action Plan for 2009-10 but proposed that we plan ahead for three years, up to 2011-12.

The draft Action Plan was tabled, discussed in detail and agreed with the addition of two further action points, which included lobbying to raise the profile and significance of the network across the borough.. The amended Action Plan will be presented at the next meeting to establish responsibility for its delivery.

Update on the Greenheart Project:

Martin Purcell in now the greenheart program manager and he will be invited to attend a Network meeting in the future. The project has now entered phase two. Its website will go live and a strategy for community engagement to be drafted shortly. The Bickershaw North part of the project is now also in phase two.

Any other business:

The Cultural Partnership Convention will be held at St Peter's Hindley July 4 starting 9.30.

Tom Price expressed thanks to WL&CT for the support they provide the Network. He has met with Philip Butler regarding heritage open day in September and will bring a list regarding the same to the next meeting.

Tom spoke about the memorial plaque commissioned by the Network and the need to consider where in the History Shop to place it and others.

Next meeting:

Monday 3rd August Tudor House 10.30