Residents blasted over huge ‘toxic’ bonfire

Smithwood Avenue, Hindley Green
Smithwood Avenue, Hindley Green

Residents have been slammed for building a huge bonfire on a housing estate following claims it is full of dangerous items.

The large structure on Smithwood Avenue in Hindley Green appeared last week with the builders clearly intending to burn it on Saturday for Bonfire Night.

I’ve got no problem with organised bonfires so long as you know everything is safe. When public safety is being disregarded I think that’s wrong

Local resident

However, one resident has accused them of putting people’s safety at risk by filling it with “toxic” items and called for bonfires created outside organised events to be banned.

Wigan Council also promised yesterday that the structure would be torn down and also encouraged Wiganers not to build their own bonfires.

The resident claimed people living nearby had been piling up old mattresses, sofas and even potentially-dangerous appliances such as fridges onto the bonfire, which measured several metres both in height and width.

The resident, who asked not to be named, said: “People are using this to get rid of all their toxic stuff and as far as I’m concerned these bonfires should be banned.

“It should be an event the council puts together for people to go to, not people deciding to build something on open land as big as they can trying to outdo other sites using any old waste they can get their hands on.

“I’ve got no problem with organised bonfires so long as you know everything is safe. When public safety is being disregarded I think that’s wrong.”

He also hit out at Wigan Council for its slow response to his safety concerns, saying he had phoned four times in the space of a week asking for action to be taken.

However, Wigan Council responded yesterday and said it was aware of the bonfire, with employees visiting the site to ensure there was nothing to burn tomorrow.

The local authority also echoed the growing calls for residents to attend official events rather than putting on their own celebrations.

Paul Barton, assistant director for environment at the town hall, said: “We have been made aware of this and our greenspaces team will be clearing it as soon as possible.

“We would remind residents to have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night by visiting an organised display.”

Wigan Council also reminded residents they can report environmental issues using the My Account app or online at www.wigan.gov.uk/reportit

The Fire Fighters Charity is also asking people to attend organised displays and donate tomorrow to help crew members injured in the line of duty.

A social media campaign has been launched and people can donate £3 by texting FIRE to 70660.