Future of arson hit building in balance

Firefighters at the scene of a fire at the former Pagefield College derelict building on Bridgeman Terrace
Firefighters at the scene of a fire at the former Pagefield College derelict building on Bridgeman Terrace

TALKS to determine the future of a derelict building close to Wigan town centre have started, council officials have confirmed.

A major blaze at the Pagefield Campus site last month had led some residents to call for the former mill and then college building to be demolished.

A spokesman for Wigan Council told the Evening Post that contact had been made with Pagefield Properties Ltd, the foreign based owners of the site.

And security measures around the building, which is next to Mesnes Park, have been stepped up after perimeter fences were kicked down in recent months.

Wigan Council said: “Through our community safety role, our officers have been liaising with the relevant parties and agencies to help ensure the security of the site in the light of the recent fire.

“The boarding at the rear of the site was replaced by the council within a few hours of the firefighters bringing the blaze under control.

“Officers have been in touch with the owners and discussions have started regarding the future of the building.

“They will continue to be encouraged to make the site safe and secure.”

Last month’s fire required more than 40 firefighters to douse having been started on an upper floor of the building.

Residents living nearby were advised to close windows and doors due to masses of thick black smoke and experienced water pressure issues as fire crews battled the fire overnight.

The site has been the scene of numerous outbreaks of anti-social behaviour over recent years causing misery for adjacent householders.

The site had been earmarked for housing development about a decade ago but plans have been put on hold due to the financial crisis.

Wigan Central ward councillor George Davies said: “We are waiting on a report to be produced about the site from the emergency services but one thing is clear; action needs to be taken.

“We are very concerned about what is doing on at the building and the safety of our amazing emergency crews needs to be paramount and residents need reassurance.

Initial fears of the building containing traces of lethal asbestos - which may have been released by the fire - were allayed by the fire crews.

Borough commander Steve Sheridan said the building had been stripped years ago and it should not be a concern for residents.