‘There will be a death in there’ - fears grow over derelict mill

Fire at the Pagefield building. Picture by Fran Edwards
Fire at the Pagefield building. Picture by Fran Edwards

Fresh fears have been raised that someone could be killed at a derelict Wigan mill due to nuisance fires and trespassing.

Despite security being stepped up around the Pagefield building in Swinley, people continue to get onto the site.

The old Pagefield building, behind Mesnes Park, Wigan, which is being slowly demolished

The old Pagefield building, behind Mesnes Park, Wigan, which is being slowly demolished

Fire crews were called out on Thursday afternoon when a skip was set ablaze on the site.

Neighbouring residents reported seeing plumes of smoke rising from the blaze, a sight that has been seen from around Pagefield on several occasions in recent years.

And earlier this week the Evening Post published photographs taken by a reader of youths once again on the roof of the abandoned building.

They accessed the site, which is near Mesnes Park, despite attempts by Wigan Council to secure it.

I’m really highlighting that their safety is most important. If they are dicing with death, there will, like I have said before, be a death in there

George Davis

The former college and mill building has become derelict in recent years and there has been a spate of deliberate fires there.

Several warnings have been issued that someone could be seriously hurt or killed there.

Wigan Central representative George Davies has reiterated his concern for trespassers.

He said: “I’m really highlighting that their safety is most important. If they are dicing with death, there will, like I have said before, be a death in there.

“It will be too late. Parents and other people will be asking who is at fault.

“We have tried repeatedly to communicate with people to tell their children not to go into this building.

“We are concerned about the safety of the emergency services as well. It’s very bad that if something happens to someone, the emergency services will be brought out and they are in danger as well.”

The council has recently demolished a smaller outbuilding, which had been damaged by fire, and new fencing has been erected.

Town hall bosses are seeking to recover the £70,000 demolition bill from the building’s foreign-based owners.

Fire service chiefs have urged young people not to go there and police officers have visited local schools.

Coun Davies said he had not received complaints about youngsters getting onto the site recently. But he had been made aware of rough sleepers on a nearby street as they could no longer get into the mill. He added: “I will ask for more surveillance. My idea is that we should have cameras all over that place.”

Earlier this week, Mike Worden, the council’s assistant director for planning and transport, said: “This is an extremely dangerous site and we are urging parents to warn their children. Swift action will be taken against those caught trespassing.”