Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network AGM & Meeting
10.30 a.m. 18th July 2011 at Tudor House, Hindley

Present: John O'Neill (Greenheart Partnership Board); Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum); Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group); Joe Taylor (Billinge History/Heritage Society),) Jackie Roberts & Avis Freeman (ETNA); Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage); Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media), Tom Price (Wigan Civic Trust), Jan Johnson (Hesketh Meadows Action Group); David Shallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society); Martin Purcell (Greenheart)

Apologies: Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society); Rachel Bryant (Heritage Services), Gordon Winnard (Lancashire Irish Heritage Centre), Peter Taylor (Wigan Civic Trust), Rachel Bryant & Carol Tyldesley Art &(Heritage Services); Brian Parr (Discovery Group); Simon Martin (Lancashire Local History Federation), Dave Wilson & Tony Bishop (Leigh Ornithological Society); Allan Roberts (RSPB), Glenys McClellan & Margaret Harrop (Leigh & District Family History Society); Jason Kennedy (conservation officer Wigan MBC); Vince Price (Atherton); John Hill (Wigan L& CT) Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society);

Minutes of the AGM 6th June 2011:

Accepted as true and accurate - there were no matters arising. It had been decided at the AGM that the minutes would be ratified at the next ordinary meeting, rather than waiting for a year, when memories would be less accurate.

Minutes of the ordinary meeting (June 6): Accepted as true and accurate.

Matters Arising:

Network Programme for 2011 - 2012:

The launch of Peter Goodwin's Heritage DVD will take place at Wigan Town Hall 8th of September, 5.30 - 6.30 welcome and food, 6.30 - 8.00 showing of the DVD, 8.30 to closing DVD for sale. The invitation list will be restricted to appropriate numbers. The mayor will attend.

The Network Celebration Event will take place at the Museum of Wigan Life 17th November starting at 6.00. A team effort will be needed to organise the evening.

The essay competition will be advertised in the next edition of Past Forward. Entry to the competition is unrestricted providing entries do not exceed 1,000 words.

A workshop with the conservation officer is to be arranged

Various alternative venues will be considered for a number of future meetings linked to historic sites visits

Cultural Partnership Sub-Group Meeting 7th July 2011:

Topics discussed included:
Heritage Services is being combined with Arts.
The Heritage Open Days will run from the 8th to the 11th of September.
An update on capital projects was given - Lightshaw Meadows, Kirkless, Mesnes Park, Wallgate improvements etc
Greater Manchester Archaeology Unit members are looking for various sites to explore that will involve the public, especially school children.

Greenheart Review - Martin Purcell:

Martin updated the meeting on Haigh Windmill, which has been restored thanks to a 50K grant from HLF; Lightshaw Meadows, which was saved for the borough due to a 600K grant and will be managed by the Wildlife Trust and Etherstone Hall, Leigh, where a dig will start shortly, invovleing GM Archaeology Unit and the local community.

Members Reports:

Astley Green Colliery Museum Report

Previous discussions with Andy Burnham, M.P. for Leigh have resulted in an assurance from him that he will hold a meeting with ourselves and representatives from English Heritage, H.L.F. and Wigan L & C T to gain support for future development. Repairs are still being made to the recently vandalised generator so that we can operate the Winding Engine again on a monthly basis. Batteries and cabling had been removed from the Generator resulting in about £400's worth of rectification.

An English Heritage Grant application is progressing in order that we can have a Structural Survey carried out of the Headgear, the only one still standing in the former Lancashire and Cheshire Coalfield.

21 visits or outreach activities have taken place this year to date with societies and clubs as diverse as The Women's' Association of Great Britain and the Maharishi School.

The railway extension is progressing but is very much 'weather dependent' as some of us are getting quite rusty from over exposure to the rain!

We are hosting Family Days on the four Thursdays in August. Wigan Heritage Service are putting together the programme of events which we will have an active part in, so if anyone has any bored children or grandchildren to look after in the summer holidays then contact Sue Maiden at the Museum of Wigan Life on 01942 828124 to book places.

Any Other Business:

Avis reported that the Leigh Park Group are concerned about a development proposal at the Leigh College Building purchased by the Silcock Family, possibly intended for conversion to make it a fairground museum.

Joe Taylor reported that the Orrell Billinge Transition Town Group have submitted a proposal to develop a section of Greenslate Farm into a community allotment project that involves local doctors, farmers, schools and residents. The Transition Group requested that the Network provide active support for the proposal from the Cultural Partnership. It was unanimously agreed to do so.

Next Meeting: Monday 5th September - venue details to be forwarded to members shortly.