Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30 a.m. 29th July 2013 Museum of Wigan Life


Glenys McClellan & Marge Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Peter Goodwin (Tradition Films), Joe Taylor (Billinge History Society), Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists), Jackie Roberts (Bridleways), Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage), Jan Johnston (LENDF), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society), Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group), Allan Roberts (Wigan RSPB), Kath Godfrey (Conservation Volunteers), Mandy Wellans-Bray (Orrell-Billinge Transition Town Group).

Welcome and Apologies:
Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum)
Dave Wilson, David Shallcross & Tony Bishop (Leigh Ornithological Society), Tom Price and Peter Taylor (Civic Trust)
Avis Freeman chaired and welcomed everyone to the meeting


Avis has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community. The Network is delighted and congratulates her on this thoroughly deserved achievement.

Financial Report:

Presented, discussed and accepted.

Minutes of the last meeting: True and accurate.

Matters arising: None

Review of the Network's Position and Future:

The Heritage Network was formed in May 2006 as part of the Community Empowerment Programme, to be part of the Local Strategic Partnership architecture, as mandated by the Local Area Agreement system. Once established, members of the Network were elected to sit on the Culture Thematic Partnership and partake in the governance structure of the Borough on matters pertaining to heritage.

A heritage sub-group of the Cultural Partnership was established and populated by members of the Network.

The Environment Network (ETNA) merged with the Heritage Network October 2008 and we became the Environment & Heritage Network.

Since it's inception in 2006, the Network has held meetings on a regular basis, adhered to the terms of its constitution and maintained a website where the minutes of every meeting is displayed for public scrutiny.

The incumbent government has abolished the Local Area Agreement system of governance and there is no longer a mandatory requirement for Council to 'engage' with its electorate.

The incumbent government has slashed the Council's budget and most of the former 'community' front- line staff members are no longer in position.

Wigan has a new Chief Executive Officer, Donna Hall, who has inherited a situation in whose history she will have comparatively little knowledge about at present.

The chief officer of CVS has resigned her position.

The Community Empowerment Programme has terminated.

The incumbent government has changed the local governance structure that the Network was formed to be a part of by and the reason, if any, for the Network's continued existence needs to be established.

General Discussion on the Network's Future:

At the end of a lengthy discussion in which everyone present had their say, it was agreed that letters should be sent to the new CEO, Donna Hall and those Cabinet Members with the portfolios relevant ot the Network, asking for meetings with various members of the E&H Network, as appropriate.

It was agreed that Avis, as acting chair and Joe, as secretary, should draft the letters initially and circulate them to members for further input and comment.

Members' reports:

Members who wish for reports to be included in the minutes will send in those reports digitally to the secretary.

Other business:

Glenys reported that Leigh & District Family History Society's new season starts on Tuesday 20th August at 7.30 p.m. in the Derby Room, Leigh Library with a 'Getting Started' evening.

Sunday August 18: Wildlife & Heritage Fair, Pennington Flash Country Park. 11.30am-4pm, call Jess Thompson on (0161) 872 1660 for more information or email jessicat@redroseforest.co.uk.
All activities take place near the Pennington Flash visitor centre.
Sunday August 18: Wildlife walk, Pennington Flash Country Park to Lightshaw Meadows. Join Mark Champion from Lancashire Wildlife Trust for a free wildlife walk to Lightshaw Meadows - returning to enjoy the wildlife and heritage fair at Pennington in the afternoon. The walk starts at 9.30am. Places are limited and need to be booked in advance by calling Jess Thompson on (0161) 872 1660 or emailing jessicat@redroseforest.co.uk
See more at: http://bit.ly/18KB4jC

Future meetings:

It was agreed that a date and venue for the next meeting would not be decided for the time being.