Blaze devastates once popular Wigan pub
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The Dover Lock Inn at Abram has been closed for several years and since been the subject of several planning applications to get it replaced by homes.
And for six hours on Wednesday night (December 8) fire crews battled a major blaze there.
Evidence was found that the Warrington Road premises have been used by homeless people, and so six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus conducted a search early on and were soon able to declare it empty.
The cause is not yet known and so is under investigation, although the fire did start in the basement.
Hindley watch manager Mark Anderson said: "It was a very difficult job, not least because of the pouring rain which hampered efforts to put the fire out. The ground was wasterlogged and very muddy.
"It is such a shame to see nice buildings like that going up. It has been used by local vagrants for quite some time. There was some evidence of habitation such as drinks bottles and sleeping bags, so as a precaution firefighters went inside to check there was nobody trapped. It was soon established there was no-one inside, happily.
"A building inspector came and declared the structure safe but there is a huge hole in the middle of the building due to the fire damage.
"In fact the building was quite badly damaged before the fire even started due to the number of break-ins it suffered. The fire started in the basement area and is under investigation."
There have been several attempts to have the pub buildings pulled down to be replaced with houses, but each time the planning applications have been rejected, the most recent from Bryant Services Inc which got the thumbs-down in May this year.
Previous concerns voiced have included fears new development could do to the green belt and the potential ecological impact on the nearby Abram Flashes, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Locals were also worried that the development would exacerbate flooding. They also said the proposed properties, which would front Leeds-Liverpool Canal, would not be an “appropriate scale and massing” in relation to the canalside setting.
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