Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30 am Monday 7th September 2020 museum via Zoom

Joe Taylor (JT), Billinge Historic Society Chair
Peter Taylor (PT), Wigan Civic Trust
Lydia Helsby (LH) Wigan Civic Trust
Adrain D’Arcy (AD), CRESS
Kerrell Walley (KW), Climate Change Programme Manager, Wigan Council
Richard MacDonald, (RM) Wigan MBC Conservation Officer
Julie Clarke (JC) Wigan Community Officer
Alex Miller (AM) Wigan MBC Cultural Team
Neil Forshaw (NF) George Formby Society
Neil Linford (NL) Building Preservation
Jenny Griggs (JG) Carbon Landscape
Ali Abbas (AA) Friends of the Earth
Glenys McClellan (GM), Leigh Family History Society

Apologies: Avis Freeman, Leigh Soroptomists,
Ian Bowler, Wigan & Leigh Climate Action,
Dave Shallcros, Leigh OS,
Helen Rimmer, FoE North West,
Julie Hotchkiss

Minutes of last meeting – Proposed correct by Joe Taylor, seconded by Adrian D’Arcy. Matters arising – none

Kerrell Walley gave an update with the following headings:
Second version of future plans going before Cabinet at the end of October.
Greater Manchester holding a Green Summit from 21 to 24th September.
Environment Education Eco Schools Conference to be held across the Borough.

AA suggested community owned solar panels for schools
AA was asked to give a talk at the next meeting.

Richard MacDonald had forwarded the draft version of the Historic Environment Strategy to several of those present. This will go to Council at the end of September before public consultation.

LH asked if this took into account the Government’s White Paper for planning. It does to some extent.

GM asked about the Borough Open Heritage Days being publicised. This is not something for the Council but individual owners of buildings are expected to submit their details to the website.

The Borough is unable to participate this year because most of the buildings are not open to the public.

Other Reports

Peter Taylor reported that the Civic Trust is still issuing their newsletter that including a photograph of a WW1 ambulance train. Lord Craword was a medical attendant during WW1.

Neil Linford asked if there was any progress in finding a place of the Common Seal which was originally on the Wigan Town Hall and the progress of the Plantation Gates project. RM agreed to check these for an update.

Alex Miller reported on the following news from the Culture Team:
Fire Within Exhibition was closed temporarily then re-opened in August but is now closed to prepare a new exhibition to open in two weeks time.
Museum building in Library Street is now opened again with new limited opening hours. There is a new temporary exhibition ‘Protests, Radical and Revolution”.

Wigan Local Studies is now open for researchers but a pre-booking scheme has been set up as items used have to be quarantined for 72 hours after use.

Progress at Leigh Town Hall is going well after a short break due to Covid. The contractors hope to hand the building back to the Council in November. This will allow the archives to be returned to their new storage facility and the exhibition to be installed. It is hoped that the building will be opened to the public about March or April next year.

Two new members of staff have been appointed to co-ordinate volunteers and outreach.

Neil Forshaw reported that the George Formby Society were continuing with Zoom meetings and had recorded items now on Facebook.

Julie Clarke reported that the Community Investment Fund will be fully allocated soon. She is now working on the State of the Sector email sent to volunteer groups. Richard MacDonald reported that the two projects which had secured funding from Historic England were progressing and that the For Tyldesley group had appointed Creative Heritage as Project Managers.

RM also pointed out that it was now a criminal offence to trespass in Pagefield Mill and that they were trying to liaise with the private owners of both Pagefield Mill and Eckersley Mill.

Other Questions

AD asked RM whether the extra comments about Wigan Firsts would be incorporated into the Draft. This is will be done if space is available.

AD asked AM who he should contact about using the Museum and Leigh Town Hall in the future. AM asked him to email him with details.

NL asked AM if there would be more publicity about the new exhibition for the Fire Within. AM replied that this is usually in the local press and media.

LH asked RM for progress on Wigan Pier. The building work is now completed but not able to be used due to Covid restrictions.

Date of Next Meeting – Monday 5th October 2020