Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

16th August 2010 Tudor House 10.30am

Present - John O'Neill (Chair) (Greenheart Partnership Board); Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group); Gordon Winnard (Lancashire Irish Heritage Centre); Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society); Jackie Roberts (Bridleways); Jan Johnston (Hesketh Meadows Action Group); Vincent France (Atherton); John Hill & Zenno Vattev (WLCT - Heritage Services) Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media); Joe Taylor (Billinge History/Heritage Society) Tom Glover (Discovery Group): Peter Taylor & Tom Price (Wigan Civic Trust); Dave Wilson & Tony Bishop (Leigh Ornithological Society); Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage).

Apologies - Avis Freeman (ETNA) David Shallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society); Rachel Bryant, Carol Tyldesley (Heritage Services), Glenys McClellan & Margaret Harrop (Leigh & District Family History Society); Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeological Society); Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum); Brian Parr (Discovery Group)


The chair informed the meeting about:

Heritage Open days from the 9th - 12th of September

Heritage Walks at Astley Green Colliery 19th & 26th of August

The Romans in Town 18th September

The talk by Alan Davies at the Museum of Wigan Life 26th August about mining and art

Part of the Oxford Archaeology Society dig at the Grand Arcade agreement was that the applicant would fund a booklet for schools. But owing to admin problems that has not yet been received. To ensure that it is published. Wigan Archaeology Society have applied for £1500 from the Community Chest to part fund it with the remaining £3.5K guaranteed.

The best person to ring about forthcoming heritage events is Jenifer Roberts on 01942 827663.

Minutes of Last Meeting

Accepted as True & Accurate

Matters Arising:

Tom Price reported on additional venues for the Heritage Open days

The Cultural Partnership Convention, held on the 10th of July, had been a successful event.

There was a short discussion about the PCT being represented on the Greenheart Board. Because Wigan Borough has below average life expectations, which result from health and wellbeing issues, it is important that the PCT, or the body that replaces it, plays a full part in the health benefits that can be introduced into that project.

Greenheart Community Forum Report:

The initial meeting took place 15th July when a draft version of terms of reference was considered. The forum will meet four times per year and minutes of meetings will be displayed on the Greenheart website.

Celebration Evening:

As the Environment & Heritage Network continues to develop, it seems appropriate that we organise a celebration evening, perhaps this coming Spring. The Museum of Wigan Life has been offered as a possible venue. It was agreed that the idea is sound and discussion took place about the form such an evening might take. It was suggested that Peter Goodwin's DVD about Wigan Heritage could be shown, that presentation could be given by member groups, that certificates of membership to the Network could be given out and various other activities to make the evening worthwhile and enjoyable. It was decided that we think about it for the time being and then perhaps a group of people could get together to organise the event.

Other Business:

The secretary reported that at the last LSP Board meeting the lead officers of the four newly formed Thematic Partnerships gave presentations. Three of these Thematic Partnerships have, apparently, no community representation. The Economic, Environment, Culture & Housing Thematic Partnership has, apparently, got community representation only on the Cultural Partnership but these seem to be selected rather than elected. The method whereby community representatives were elected to the LSP and the LSP architecture is now outdated and, as yet, there is nothing in place to remedy this situation.

There was a short discussion about the forthcoming 'cuts'. Wigan has lost £230M worth of investment in new Building Schools for the Future program, council finances are looking at a 25 per cent reduction over the next three years, staff reductions of between 650 and 820 full time equivalent employees over the next three are expected. The coalition government has announced its 'Big Society' plan whereby groups should be able to run post offices, libraries, transport services and shape housing projects. This, it is suggested, will be achieved by giving individuals and communities more control over their local services.

As the Environment & Heritage Network is the one of the functioning community networks in the Borough, some thought needs to be given as to how best we can provide support in the face of difficult circumstances.

Zenno Vattev reported that he is still in place as funding officer at WL&CT and willing to help Network members with funding applications.


Garry Harold (Environmental Services) gave and excellent presentation regarding the history of derelict land conversion in the Borough and the emergence of the Greenheart Project.

Next Meeting:

It was agreed that a member group should give a ten-minute presentation at future meetings and that the Discovery Group would do so at the next meeting.

Time and date of next meeting - 10.30am Monday 27th September 2010, Tudor House