Roof caves in at Wigan flats

Fears have become a reality for residents of a Scholes block of flats after the roof caved in.

People living in Derby House, which is run by Wigan and Leigh Homes, were shocked to hear a “crash” this morning (Wednesday) before finding that a large part of the ceiling in their corridor had come down after “years” of continuous leaking.

Derby House resident Beatrice Graham at the damaged roof above her flat

Derby House resident Beatrice Graham at the damaged roof above her flat

Days before, residents had contacted Wigan Council to voice their growing concerns of a “disaster” if the deteriorating roof fell on one of the flats older residents.

67-year-old Beatrice Graham, who lives on the top floor of the 12-storey building, had been in the corridor inspecting the damage just “minutes before”.

“Ten minutes before it came falling down I was out checking on it,” she said. “It’s a really good job that I wasn’t underneath it when it happened.

“None of my doors will shut either. The water leaking from the roof seeps into the wood and it expands. I’m sick of having to shave bits off my door.”

It’s a really good job that I wasn’t underneath it when it happened

Beatrice Graham

This is the third time in three years that the ceiling has fallen off and into the corridor below.

The collapse happened when 90-year-old resident, Alice Brown, had left her home to run an errand.

She said: “I was only out for half an hour. When I came back it was down. I can’t believe it. I only went through there a while ago.”

Christopher Aspinall, resident of Derby House for eight years, said that he is paying around £900 a year in service costs that he believes are being ‘wasted’ on temporary fixes.

Residents of Derby House at the area where the roof has collapsed

Residents of Derby House at the area where the roof has collapsed

“I run my own flat and I pay a service charge to keep the roof in a good state of repair,” he said. “They’re not keeping their end of the bargain. It’s not going to be long before it ruins and that is going to cost even more money. It feels like I’m wasting my money.”

The leaking water is also causing damp to set in, which residents say you can smell throughout the top floor.

Retired hairdresser, Sharon Quinnell, 59 is in the process of trying to sell her flat, which she bought a few years ago from the trust.

She said: “I am very frightened of it leaking into my flat. I own mine and I have spent thousands of pounds on it, I don’t want it to become water damaged.”

Matt Roberts, director of asset management and development, said: “The collapse of the internal ceiling has been caused by an existing leak, however this has not caused any structural damage to the building and repairs are ongoing subject to weather conditions. We’ve secured the area and have advised residents.”