Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

5th July 2010 Tudor House 10.30am

Present - John O'Neill (Chair) (Greenheart Partnership Board); Martin Purcell (Greenheart/Wigan Council); Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum); Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeological Society); Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group); David Shallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society); Gordon Winnard (Lancashire Irish Heritage Centre); Glenys McClellan (Leigh & District Family History Society); Margaret Harrop (Leigh & District Family History Society); Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society); Jackie Roberts (Bridleways); Jan Johnston (Hesketh Meadows Action Group); Vincent France (Atherton); Rachel Bryant (WLCT - Heritage Services) Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media).

Apologies - Brain Parr & Tom Glover (Discovery Group) Tom Price (Wigan Civic Trust); Joe Taylor (Billinge History / Heritage Society); Ray Hutchinson (Wigan Parish Church); Dave Wilson (Leigh Ornithological Society); Simon Martin (Lancs Local History Federation); Ann Rampling; Jason Kennedy; Jenny Tunney.

Minutes of Last Meeting

Rachel Bryant explained that she had spoken to Vincent France about a possible interview about his mining past for a video later in the year. Geoff Jones then mentioned oral history sound recordings stored in archive in Clitheroe Castle.

Peter Goodwin told the meeting about progress on the DVD. This included filming at Stubshaw Cross Memorial Garden (with Ken Barston), and research visits to Standish (with John O'Neill), Chowbent Chapel (with David Shallcross), Howe Bridge (with Richard Sivill) and Marsh Gymnasium (to meet Jill Orrell).

John O'Neill explained that the situation with the Hesketh Arms redevelopment in Shevington has been resolved satisfactorily.

Rachel Bryant told the meeting about the Young Roots seminar that had just happened on Friday 2nd July. The Young Roots funding is from Heritage Lottery for projects led by young people which involve them out of school. Wigan Borough remains a 'priority area' for the Heritage Lottery for the next nine months.

John O'Neill gave the meeting Jack Topping's phone number 01942 257 361 as the contact for Hindley Museum if members wished to visit.

The minutes were agreed as a true and accurate record.

Matters Arising

The Annual Heritage Open Days will be taking place in the Borough from 9th to 12th September and some events will be linked to the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust programme of events.

The 2010 Wigan Borough Cultural Partnership Convention is taking place at 09.30 on Saturday 10th July at Formby Hall, Atherton.

Various parts of the Borough have been 'decorated up' for Wigan in Bloom including the Tyldesley monument, Mabs Cross and the Leigh Obelisk. North West In Bloom judging is taking place on the 28th of July..

Greenheart Report from Martin Purcell

Work towards the Greenheart Delivery Plan includes feasibility studies and work on the ground.

'Access Strategy' has gone through consultation and various schemes are happening as a result. This covers not just access points to Greenheart but links between areas. The Boroughwide Access Strategy has been looking at reducing the number of barriers on public footpaths to improve access for those with mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

How Greenheart manages sites may become tricky as government 'future jobs' schemes are due to be axed. There is a bid to secure £300 per hectare for 10 years for Amberswood as part of a newly created 'Greenheart farm'. Also work to improve the canal path from Bamfurlong to Dover Lock and then hopefully on to Plank Lane.

Work is going on to raise the profile of Greenheart including website, brand and logo. Publicity has been gained for projects at Lightshaw and the Haigh windmill. There are plans for a 3-5 minute Greenheart film to be made by Cathy Peloe who works in Wigan Council communications team.

The local PCT recently joined the Greenheart board.

Haigh Hall - development of a strategy for Haigh Hall continues. Consultants 'Humberts Leisure' have been appointed.

Pennington - no news.

Haigh Windmill is £50K Lottery funded project. Done a bat survey but not much evidence of bats. Work commences September after the Haigh Show in 3rd week of August. Also completed a project with children related to the windmill.

Amberswood - first draft of plan has been completed. There is a proposal to extend the cycle path across from Hindley.

Wigan Flashes are a key site. Looking at establishing a car park and a small office for Lancashire Wildlife Trust on Welham Road next to Hawkley Hall High School. Also proposal to improve linkage from Wigan Flashes to Three Sisters.

Ince Moss - it is proposed to construct a pedestrian bridge to link it better to the Flashes.

Bickershaw North - various leisure plans including the golf course are on hold. A considerable sum has already been spent on a ne road and preparation work. Private sector scheme is building 650 homes and a marina on the Bickershaw South site. The building site office has open afternoons once a month for anyone interested.

Three Sisters - has a management plan in place and there is a plan to designate it as a Local Nature Reserve.

Kirkless - one of the last remaining post-industrial sites in Wigan. Developing plans for this site.

Lightshaw Meadows - bid for money from Lottery was successful. Path has been resited in consultation with local Bird Watchers and they're happy with redrawn plans. Plans to support Willow Tit in Greenheart area - it's an important species in national decline.

Bridgewater Canal has its 250th anniversary next year. Planning to link up with this.

Last week had visit by delegation from China looking at land reclamation. They are facing similar problems regarding post-industrial land reclamation and were impressed by what had been achieved.

Member Groups Achievements - how we might recognise them

John O'Neill proposed the idea of a celebration evening and asked the meeting what it thought. Rachel Bryant offered the Museum of Wigan Life as a venue. John also mentioned the idea of having a 10-minute slot in each 6-weekly meeting for one group in turn to make a presentation to the rest of the Network. John will meet with Joe Taylor and Tom Price to discuss further.

Events 2010 to 2011

John O'Neill described display in library that was up in first week of June about Elnup
Wood, which was bought by community from NCB for £1. The area is historic and had
a corn mill on it up to the 19th Century.

27th November this year is Lancashire Day when groups are encouraged to run events.

John O'Neill invited suggestions from the group for visits for the coming year. He also suggested the idea of a coach trip.

Cultural Partnership Convention

The 2010 Wigan Borough Cultural Partnership Convention is taking place at 09.30 on Saturday 10th July at Formby Hall, Atherton. All members of the Environment and Heritage Network are encouraged to attend.

Any Other Business

John O'Neill highlighted a Local History News article about engaging older people. This followed on from the discussion at a previous Network meeting. The article described the ideas of an organisation who produced large print mock newspapers which can be used in reminiscence work with older people. www.dailysparkle.co.uk

Section 106 planning monies are generated from new developments and spent on various types of maintenance by the Council. Township Forums influence how it is spent. Up to December 2009, Wigan Council had committed £3 million, but still had £300,000 left to allocate. It was suggested that Network members might be able to get money towards some of their projects and interests. Jackie Roberts (Bridleways) reported that she had tried through local Township to get money for resurfacing paths, but had been unsuccessful. It was noted that the Townships are currently being re-organised and the new set-up is due to go live on 1st November 2010.

Rachel Bryant (WLCT) informed the meeting of two massive weekend events coming up. Leigh for All is on Sat/Sun 11/12 September with Town Hall walks, music, church tours, vintage cars. Saturday 18th September the Romans invade Wigan with 100s of people involved, a catapult, owls, Roman doctors and Egyptian dancers.

Stubshaw Cross has activities for children in first two weeks of August in collaboration with WLCT Heritage Service. The idea is to produce material for an exhibition 'Seeds of Change'. There has also been some informal reminiscence chats with residents of Shawcross Nursing Home.

Astley Green Colliery Museum has three family days in August - 5th, 19th and 26th August.

Leigh Model Railway Society are having an exhibition at Westleigh High School on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September 10am to 5pm.

The Lancashire Local History Federation are organising a day event around the history of Lytham St Annes on Saturday 16th October. Information can be found under events on their website www.lancashirehistory.org

Leigh Family History Group handed out copies of their publicity leaflet to everyone at the meeting.

Meeting closed.

Time and date of next meeting - 10.30am Monday 16th August 2010, Tudor House