Wigan businessman tells of town centre anti-social chaos

A Wigan town centre businessman has hit out at a wave of anti-social behaviour he says is making life tougher for companies.

Norman Taylor, of Mesnes Street firm Kiwi Travel, says he and his staff have had to contend with drug use in broad daylight outside the premises, youths taking their lives in their hands trespassing on the roof of the building and a break-in this year.

People using drugs on top of a bin on Mesnes Street in broad daylight

People using drugs on top of a bin on Mesnes Street in broad daylight

He also hit out at the general state of the town centre, saying a bin which would help to reduce the littering problem has been out of action for weeks and not replaced.

He threw down the gauntlet to the authorities, saying the police are struggling to crack down on crime and Wigan Council should be concerned about the reputation and image of the town centre.

Mr Taylor said: “We’ve had a break-in where people came through the roof, we’ve had drug addicts using the top of the bin as a table to do their business and we’ve had people urinating on the side wall of the office at 5pm.

“I’ve also seen a group of kids on the roofs of the buildings walking the whole length of the street. That’s three-and-a-half storeys up with no safety protection whatsoever.

“If they slipped it would be a death. It’s absolutely ludicrous.

“The cleaning guys work hard and do their job, but we don’t have enough bins and they aren’t emptied regularly enough. The one outside our office has been out of use for weeks and weeks.

“There are serious issues and the biggest is that I think we are an unpoliced society. Without those authority figures what chance have we?

“Let’s be fair, this is a town centre problem, not just one for Wigan. But my closure is if this leads to the eventual closure of businesses what happens to all the business rates that Wigan Council relies on in order to provide services? It’s a frightening thought.

“I do think at the moment the state of the streets is detrimental to young entrepreneurs.”

Wigan Council reassured businesses and residents it is doing all it can to tackle problems in the town centre.

Kathryn Rees, assistant director for transformation, said: “We want to have safe, vibrant and prosperous town centres and we know that is what our residents and businesses want too.

“We are aware of a number of issues in relation to anti-social behaviour and substance misuse and are working closely with our partners, to address these issues through a range of different strategies.

“We will consider enforcement action if these issues continue.”