Wigan Borough Environmental & Heritage Network Meeting

10.30a.m. Monday 21st. September 2009

Tudor House Hindley

Present-John O'Neill (Greenheart Partnership Board); V. France (E.T.N.A.); Richard Sivil (Atherton Heritage); A.J. Smith (County Bird Recorder); Ann Rampling (Town Green Residents Association); Thomas Price (Wigan Civic Trust); Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group); David Smallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society); Martin Purcell (Greenheart Programme); Carole Tyldesely(Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust); Nigel Morley(Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers); Avis A Freeman(Leigh Soroptimists).

Apologies-David Wilson (Bickershaw Conservation Group), Jackie Roberts( Bridleways), Peter Taylor (Wigan Civic Trust); Joe Taylor (Billing History / Heritage Society)Geoff. Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum), Glenys McClellan, (Leigh Family History Society)

John O'Neill opened the meeting by welcoming those members present and noted apologies.

Martin Purcell, the Greenheart Programme Manager, updated members on the Regional Park. He explained how Greenheart is centred around the former Coalfield Industrial Areas in the Southern sector of the Borough with connecting corridors Westwards to the Ashton-in-Makerfield /Three Sisters then in a North Easterly direction to Wigan Flashes and Amberswood and finally Northwards into Haigh. With these main centre points, connections are also being made into other areas. The concept is to bring a high quality landscape and leisure pursuits to all areas of the Borough and consultation with local groups that have a more intimate knowledge of their area, a satisfactory programme can be achieved under the guidance of the Partnership Officers.

A prime example mentioned was the site of the old Kirkless Steelworks, reputed to be the largest in Europe during its heyday (important enough for the attempt of its destruction during WW1).

Network members will be fully consulted on environmental and heritage issues across Greenheart. Members thanked Martin for his presentation.

The Booklet and update sheet will be available on request from absent members.

Minutes of the last meeting-true and accurate, passed

Matters arising: A copy of the July 15th. Meeting on Archaeological and Heritage Issues across the Borough minutes, was distributed to members attending.

(Anyone requiring a copy can ask John O'Neill)

Wigan Borough in Bloom

A comprehensive handout entitled "Environmental Aims And Objectives" presented by John O'Neill outlined the future objectives for the Borough. Building on the success of recent years work, the document covers the whole spectrum of environmental issues.

The Chair reported on how the people are encouraged to follow the Council initiative and plant floral displays wherever possible to brighten up the environment and help lift the community spirit in times of stress.

It is hoped that in the near future that land will be made available for the creation of Allotments, to encourage people to "grow your own" vegetables and flowers.
This land needs to be freely available to aspiring gardeners with no obstacles hindering progress.

An annual workshop has been established whereby people working for a better and brighter community, can come along and tell what they have achieved, and receive accolades for their efforts.

He emphasised that the Brighter Borough programme begins at our own front door helping to contribute to the bigger picture of Greenheart.

Action Plan 2009 - 2011

Members agreed to the Chairman's proposal regarding the lead members and partners who would help to achieve its targets.

Members News.

Carole Tyldesley (W.LC.T.) reported on the success of the Heritage Open Days events. Upwards of 3000 people attended the Leigh events.

Tom Price (Wigan Civic Trust) reported on the Heritage Open Days fairly successful for this year with 9 local churches opening their doors. Next year the church officials would like a pamphlet with all churches and opening times to advertise for each other.
Sept.14th. Members meeting was addressed by Andrew Bond of WLCT who gave a presentation on Mesnes Park proposed restoration.

Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group) reported on the restoration of Stubshaw Cross and garden, their heritage country walks, involving local primary schools in the concepts of history and plants and are working with Heritage Services in producing a history book of Stubshaw Cross, a DVD and a calendar.

Ann Rampling (T.G.R.A.) reported on their progress with Bolton Road Community garden. They are raising finance to build a 'history wall'. They have created a wildlife area and planted a variety of fruit trees including Walnut, Plum etc., also they have removed old shrubbery to create a more natural environment for the planting of Oak, Beech and a more native species of trees.

A.J. Smith (County Bird Recorder) reported on the installation of a camera to record a Barn Owl.

David Smallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society) reported on their activities. They are watching the papers for local planning issues, working with local children groups, installing Nestboxes.

Richard Sivil (Atherton Heritage Society) reported on working with Bristol BBC on the local Atherton /Howe Bridge Heritage programme.

V. France (ETNA) had nothing currently to report, but expressed his concern over the lack of Toilet Facilities on Heritage Sites and what would be the future plan to introduce these facilities?

Nigel Morley (WFRM) reported on the plans to hold an Exhibition of their Models on sat. 12th & Sunday 13th of December, at the Robin Park Arena and Sports Centre
Nigel distributed brochures on this exhibition.
Also, Wigan Wallgate history on boards at Wigan North Western Station showing on the 3rd. &4th of October.

Avis Freeman (Soroptimists) they will be planting more bulbs this year. She is concerned about the proposal for a new school at Lowton Common (is it to be built on Common Land?).
Avis was also concerned about the proposals to demolish the ancient Hesketh Arms at Shevington Moor, but the Chairman reassured her that he had written to the appropriate Authorities on this matter. A Protection Order has been placed on the building for 6 months, pending further information on its history.

Any other business

Carole Tyldesley distributed a leaflet concerning the History Shop, titled "What`s happening at the History Shop?", scheduled to be reopened, Easter 2010
To obtain this information document and ongoing leaflets, contact by telephone on 01942 828128 or visit the website on www.wlct.org/heritage.

Awards for All Grant

Members were requested to act on the information sent by the Secretary concerning the 3K available for Community Groups start- up funding.

Next meeting:

Monday 2nd November 2009 @ Tudor House Hindley at10.30 am.