Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30 a.m. April 8th 2013 at Tudor House, Hindley

Present - John O'Neill (Greenheart Partnership Board), Peter Goodwin (Tradition Films), Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists), Jackie Roberts (Bridleways), Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage), Glenys McClellan (Leigh Family History Society), Jan Johnston (LENDF), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society), Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group),
Matt Holker (Greater Manchester Ecology Unit), Alison Thorpe & Sharon Sargent (Hindley Market Ltd.)

Apologies - Joe Taylor (Billinge History Society), Marge Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Tom Price (Wigan Civic Trust), Dave Wilson (Bickershaw Conservation Group).
The Chair, welcomed everyone to the meeting


- New Past Forward is out now for April to July
- Kirkless site - Lancashire Wildlife Trust have advertised in the newspaper for memories/reminiscences of people from when it was a working coal/iron works (it closed in 1930)
- Wigan Archaeological Society have published their March/April newsletter
- St. Catherines Church in Scholes have had a replacement steeple put up with the help of Heritage Lottery Money - the original was taken down for safety reasons.
- There was an article in the paper about the 52nd anniversary of George Formby's death.
- Museum of Wigan Life have new exhibition entitled 'Make It, Spin It, Can It' about industry in the Borough.
- WLCT's Collection Policy - which Yvonne Webb came and spoke about at a previous meeting - is now completed.

Presentation - by Matt Holker from Greater Manchester Ecology Unit

- The Greater Manchester Ecology Unit is part of the Greater Manchester Record Centre and it advises Local Authorities about ecology and planning.
- Matt explained about 'Grey to Green' which is a three-year Heritage Lottery funded project 'rediscovering the natural heritage of Greater Manchester.'
- 'Grey to Green' has three workers and covers 4 Boroughs - Wigan, Salford, Manchester and Tameside.
- Volunteers are important for recording wildlife.
- Greater Manchester has its own Biodiversity Action Plan
- DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have fund for Biodiversity Recording. This money goes into the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) and also to Natural England who then fund Local Record Centres (LRC).
- Records are useful for monitoring Climate Change.
- Greater Manchester Record Centre: encourages recording, provides a link between local recorders and national network, pursues accurate records, has a role in distributing/making available record data and information.
- Greater Manchester Breeding Bird Atlas is produced every 7 years recording birds in Greater Manchester. It involves 300 individuals and 100,000 records.
- It's important to monitor protected sites and to monitor environmental improvements and impacts.
- Protected sites can be at three levels: European level - SAC - Special Areas of Conservation; National level - SSSI - Sites of Special Scientific Interest; and Local level - SBI - Sites of Biological Importance. There are 500 SBIs across Greater Manchester which cover on average 13-18% of land in Boroughs.
- Aims of Grey to Green:
Develop appreciation of natural environment
Pride in natural heritage
Increase number of people recording
Increase number of records submitted
Increase coverage and quality of data
Increase availability of data - eg on internet.
- Part of Matt's role is to go out and promote what 'Grey to Green' is doing and spread the message.
- Matt asked people to support 'Grey to Green' project by using the website (they're also on Facebook and Twitter), making records and submitting them to Greater Manchester Local Record Centre's online system RODIS (Record Online Data Input System), spread the word and get involved.

Jan Johnston - asked about illegal hare-coursing and killing deer.
Matt pointed out that the hare is a protected species whilst deer are not.

Presentation - by Alison Thorpe & Sharon Sargent from Hindley Market Ltd.

- Alison runs 'Lucky Hens' near Amberswood, which rescues chickens from battery farms and gives them to people as pets, for eggs and for allotment holders. In the 3 years that they've been going they've found new homes for 8,000 hens.
- Alison and Sharon are trying to re-establish Hindley Market as a community market. Hindley Market Ltd is a CIC - Community Interest Company - ie not-for-profit.
- Part of the idea is to provide training and employment opportunities for a range of people including People with Learning Difficulties and young offenders, who could run stalls. SSE (School for Social Entrepreneurs) are running training for people who want to run stalls. Market also gives opportunities for local artisans/producers to sell their products.
- Holding a public meeting at Madisen Hall, Hindley on Tuesday 16th April.
- Hoping to have a market at Hindley around August Bank Holiday.

Minutes of last meeting - true and accurate.

Matters arising

- Linda Jackson has been appointed by WLCT (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust) as the replacement for Carole Tyldesley who was Head of Arts and Heritage Services. Linda comes from the Leeds Armoury Museum and will have the title 'Director of Exhibitions' - this won't be exactly the same responsibilities as Carole Tyldesley had.
- Penny McGinty is the person in Wigan Council who liaises with WLCT and has produced a new 'Leisure and Culture Strategy 2013- 2023' for the Council which will guide its funding of WLCT. It places health and well-being as the top priority. Councils have taken on extra responsibilities for public health as a result of the abolition of Primary Care Trusts in the NHS.
- John explained the squeeze in Local Authority funding over the forthcoming years. Many roles will be 'outsourced' and may be reduced in quality and scope. The aim will be to 'do more with less'.
- John O'Neill reported on his meeting with Richard Sivill and Peter Goodwin to discuss some future ideas for the Network to pursue. One idea was to bring together information about the heritage and environment of individual local areas to eventually compile comprehensive publicity about all the areas that make up Wigan Borough. Greenheart could be the focus for this. For instance, one approach might be leaflets saying 'Why I should go to ….Kirkless, Low Hall, Pennington Flash, Haigh Hall etc. Leaflets are only one way the information could be disseminated. Also booklets, internet, DVD etc. This is obviously a big job and will take some time. One area could be selected first as a pilot to produce the 'tale of an area'. Meeting agreed in principle that this was a good idea.
- People in meeting commented that information about walks in Wigan Borough are not also easy to find even though they do exist. Some are on Wigan Council Planning Department's website. Some are produced through WLCT's Active Living walks programme.

Next Meeting:
Monday 20th May - 10.30am at Tudor House, Hindley