Art work moved from yobs

The Wall at Skitters Wood Ashton with councillors Gary Wilkes and Don Hodgkinson
The Wall at Skitters Wood Ashton with councillors Gary Wilkes and Don Hodgkinson
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A FOUR-month-old community wall may now be torn down brick by brick...because it has become a magnet for rowdy teens.

Planners are now consulting about the future of the Ashton structure after deciding that its current location will always make it the focus for anti-social behaviour.

Leader of Wigan Council’s opposition Coun Gary Wilkes and colleague Coun Don Hodgkinson are supporting the relocation away from its current Balliol Way base because, with the cuts continuing across public services, he sees little chance of the authorities being able to muster enough staff to allay the problems.

The decorative wall was constructed in November at the south end of Balliol Way, next to an access into popular Skitters Wood, after a request by the Friends group.

Commercial brickmaker Ibstock carried out the work, at no cost to the council, incorporating a number of bricks carved by children at nearby youth and community groups.

Planner David Broome, who is collating the consultation responses, said: “Unfortunately the wall has become an attraction youths and there has been anti-social behaviour associated with it as a focal point, leading to complaints from residents.

“Due to this we are planning to take down the wall, though we will retain the bricks carved by children, so that the Friends of Skitters group can consider an alternative use for them.

“We will look at an alternative site around Skitters Wood, away from properties.

“This will probably involve a scaled-down version of the current structure, if it can be arranged. We will salvage the bricks carved by local youth groups in the event that they can be utilised.

Coun Wilkes said that because of the problems that youths were causing residents with rowdiness and anti social behaviour, he would support the wall’s relocation ... as long as the carved bricks find a equally visible new home.”

He said: “I know that some people will say that moving the wall means that the yobs and idiots have won and you shouldn’t give in to them.

“But at times you have to be practical and the relocation plan away from homes, is a sensible move.”