Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30 a.m. September 10th 2012 at Tudor House, Hindley

Present - John O'Neill (Greenheart Partnership Board), Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society), Peter Goodwin (Tradition Films), Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists), Dave Wilson (Bickershaw Conservation Group/Wigan Biodiversity Group), David Shallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society/Chowbent Chapel), Joe Taylor (Billinge History/Heritage Society), Jan Johnston (LENDF), Vince French (Atherton), Jackie Roberts (Bridleways), Allan Roberts (Wigan RSPB), Glenys McClellan Marge Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group), Mandy Wellens-Bray & Kath Godfrey (Orrell Billinge Transition Group), Martin Purcell (Greenheart Project)

Apologies - Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage), Huttson Lo (Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), John Hill (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Peter Taylor & Tom Price (Wigan Civic Trust), Tony Bishop (Leigh Ornithological Society, Brain Parr (Discovery Group), Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum), Liz Vango-Smith (Lancashire Wildlife Trust), Steve Higham (British Waterways)

The Chair, welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Our essay competition was announced in the last edition of Past Forward; entries need to be in by 12th October to pastforward@wlct.org

The Boer War Memorial will be unveiled when restoration of Mesnes Park is completed sometime in 2013.

At the recent Heritage Open Days attendance was disappointing. Next year's to be reviewed.

Presentation by Orrell/Billinge Transition Group:

Mandy Wellens-Bray & Kath Godfrey outlined the history and philosophy behind the transition town movement - a grassroots network of communities working to build resilience in response to peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability.

An entertaining six-minute video outlined the problems we face in the near future as our current dependency on fossil fuels becomes unsustainable. The production of food locally will grow in importance as the cost of transporting food from overseas becomes increasingly expensive due to rising fuel costs as reserves of oil become depleted. The climatic changes due to global warming and the seemingly ongoing economic instability will necessitate a change of lifestyle. The transition town movement is about communities realising the lifestyle changes that will have to be made and being in a position to adapt to them.

The Orrell/Billinge Transition Group is negotiating to take over a seven-hectare farm near Orrell Water Park and develop it into a community farm project that will produce sustainable, organically grown produce for the local community. It is envisioned that this project will serve as an example for the rest of the borough and members of the group are willing to give presentations to E&H Network members groups. Contact Mandy on wellensbray@btinternet.com

Greenheart Update:

Martin Purcell informed the meeting that the consultation exercise for Lightshaw Meadows had been completed; Leisure & Culture Trust are looking for a commercial developer to maybe transform Haigh Hall into a hotel; a 'friends of' group has been established for Kirkless; Greenheart is working in conjunction with the PCT regarding health issues for the borough and the Town Centre Project is progressing.

Minutes of the last meeting: true and accurate

Matters Arising:

There was some discussion regarding amendments proposed to the Local Development Framework by Central Government concerning land for housing development throughout the borough. Submissions close 12 September.

Dave Wilson commented that parts of the greenbelt are actually in private hands and neither accessible to the public or of much use to wildlife due to agricultural use.

Celebration Evening:

This will be held on the evening of November 1st at the Museum of Wigan Life. The room is booked and refreshments have been ordered. Awards will be presented to the winners of the essay competition and to groups and individuals who have contributed to the borough's local environments and heritage.

Other Business:

There will be a family history day at the Museum of Wigan Life 22 September.

Cultural Partnership Convention will take place on Saturday 15th September

Date & Times of Next Meetings:

For the remainder of this year 22nd October, 3rd December
For 2013 - 14th January, 25th February, 8th April, 20th May