Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.00 a.m. 16th June 2014 Museum of Wigan Life

Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists), Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage)
Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society), John O'Neill (Greenheart), Glenys McClellan (Leigh Family History Society), Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum), Alex Miller (WLCT), James Winterbottom (Wigan MBC)

Marge Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Allan Roberts (Wigan RSPB), Peter Goodwin (Tradition Films), Kath Godfrey (Conservation Volunteers), David Shallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society), Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group), Jackie Roberts (Bridleways), Tom Price & Peter Taylor (Civic Trust), Jan Johnston (LENDF), Dave Wilson (Leigh Ornithological Society), Lynda Jackson (WLCT).

Avis Freeman chaired the meeting and welcomed everyone present.

Minutes of Last Meeting: True and accurate - passed.

Matters Arising:

Leigh Spinners be dealt with in AOB

James Winterbottom explained the current situation regarding the Community Investment Fund:

The next round of funding available will be £2 million. Details will be published via the council website towards the end of June and expressions of interest are to be in by July 30. The application forms will be simplified and there will be more clarity regarding the appropriate size of bids - up to £5000, up to £10,000 and above £10,000.

The themes will target young people and connecting them to already existing infrastructure within the borough; community health and wellbeing, particularly concerning the older population; and a new category targeting the working age population, both in work and out of work. The needs of this age group are coming more under focus as the continuing squeeze on living standards results in increasing debt-related problems, marriage breakdown, gambling, drug abuse and domestic violence.

It is expected that, after the closing date for expressions of interest at the end of July, the smaller applications for up to £5000 will be dealt with quickly.

The larger applications will be notified in around another two weeks as to whether or not the application fulfils the criterion and is of sufficient interest to merit further consideration. For those that pass this stage, further development of the application will be aided throught workshops etc and by the end of September the full application should be in.

Decisions will be made by October and successful applicants will be invited in to discuss more detail and for further negotiation.

Forward Planning:

Avis circulated copies of the2014/15 Network Action Plan and requested we return them completed at the next meeting. The secretary doesn't have a digital copy for circulation and requested one if anyone else has such a copy

Members Reports:

Astley Green Colliery Museum

Routine jobs continue, the most painful being the annual removal of Japanese Knotweed. This stuff will insist on growing amongst beds of nettles which it is Inadvisable to trip up in!

Progress continues on the railway and hopefully soon we will start to build the platforms for the two stations. We are currently attempting to swop over an engine on one of our diesel locomotives which is suffering from a cracked cylinder block, but sourcing spares, as with all old equipment is proving problematic.

Back on April 6trh, you may have seen Songs of Praise which featured our site as a backdrop to an interview with a man involved when the Golborne Colliery disaster happened 35 years ago.

Visits and outsourcing continue, but unfortunately those of schools seem to have entered a lull. No doubt due to charges made by coach firms. One school told us it cost £300 for a coach from Leigh to Astley.

We have also entered the cruise market, not quite Cunard style, but twice a year a boatyard from Worsley run a trip to us. Some passengers yield to temptation and never get further than the Old Boathouse pub, but others stay the course and we take them around the site.

As stated at the meeting, despite all the twaddle about involving volunteers' support, we still have to fight off certain members of the Council who seem not to want us around. So far Legionnaire's Disease prevention, Rate Relief and annual Overhead Crane surveys have been removed from the council support, with the exception of the latter which is in our lease so is 'in tablets of stone'. United Utilities still continue to treat us an industrial site and charge the earth for water and sewage provisions, which we do not have.

Still visitors seem keen on what they see and what we are trying to achieve so we will continue with our best endeavours.



The Western Front continues to fascinate and appal in equal measures. Names such as Ypres, Somme, Verdun, Compiegne, Chemin des Dames, St. Mihiel Salient and The Vosges. Recently my wife and I made a 1600-mile journey along the Front and surrounding areas from Nieuport, Belgium in the north to Pfeterhouse near the Swiss border in the south.

I have now compiled 14 talks about the period covering events, objects, local people and regiments. Recently these have been given to local societies, community groups and schools

This event will take place on the 13th September 2013 in the Derby Rooms at the Turnpike Centre at Leigh. It is hoped to put on two displays, local cotton mills and WW1.

A charity bake a cake competition to raise money for local Dementia services will be held at Prospect House (side of Town Hall), Atherton on Saturday 6th September 2014, 10am-4pm.

Avis reported on Trust in Leigh; Geoff brought us up to date with progress at Leigh Spinners Mill; John visited Sunshine House, one of the recipients of the last round of funding from the CIF, he informed the meeting about restoration work being undertaken on alter panels at Wigan Parish Church and gave a brief report on the £three-quarter of a million still to be distributed via the Wallgate Development Fund; Glenys informed other members about the meeting June 26 regarding Leigh Spinners Mill; Alex requested a 'Friends of the Museum of Wigan Life' be formed; Richard reported on progress with the WW1 project, the 'In Bloom' initiative and the Dementia project; Mary circulated a written report on the ongoing work of the archaeological society: Joe mentioned the open day celebrations occurring at Greenslate Community Farm June 21st from 11.00 until 4.00.

Next Meeting:

July 14th at Greenslate Community Farm starting at 10.00.