Council bosses consider options as problems flare up at derelict Wigan mill

Town hall bosses are looking at what action they can take after a rise in arson attacks and anti-social behaviour at a derelict Wigan mill.

By Gaynor Clarke
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:30 pm

Pagefield Mill in Swinley has become a blight on the area in recent years as the grade two-listed building has fallen into a state of disrepair.

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Measures have previously been taken to prevent people getting onto the site and putting their lives at risk, but the problems have flared up once more in the past few weeks.

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Pagefield Mill has fallen into a state of disrepair

Wigan’s firefighters are being called to the mill almost every day due to arson attacks, with crews spending hours in the dangerous building to tackle the flames.

Steve Waygood, crew manager at Wigan fire station, recently suggested the building should be demolished before someone is seriously hurt or even killed there.

Bosses at Wigan Council are now looking at what can be done to secure the site, which is privately owned.

David Proctor, acting assistant director for growth and housing at the council, said: “In recent weeks we have seen an increase in anti-social behaviour, including the lighting of fires, at the site of Pagefield Mill.

“We are currently exploring the powers and options available to us and are working closely with partner agencies, including the police and the owner of the site, to prevent anyone getting hurt.

“We would like to stress that accessing the site is strictly prohibited and any unauthorised person doing so is trespassing at their own risk.”

The historic site overlooking Mesnes Park was once a hive of activity as a mill and then part of Wigan and Leigh College, but it has been vacant in recent years.

It has become a magnet for people carrying out nuisance behaviour, starting fires and climbing the mill’s chimney.

Repeated calls have been made over the years for people to stay away, with the building now in a dangerous condition and firefighters risking their lives every time they attend.

Previous action to make the area safer has included demolishing buildings on the site, erecting fencing, blocking underground tunnels and even making it a criminal offence to trespass there.