Death trap part of iconic Wigan mill could be razed

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The future of an iconic Wigan building complex hangs in the balance as authorities warn that it is a death trap.

A section of Eckersley Mills could be demolished in the coming months after firefighters warned that people are “dicing with death” by trespassing on the property.

Mill Annex Two is the source of most of the problems with anti-social behaviour and trespassing

Mill Annex Two is the source of most of the problems with anti-social behaviour and trespassing

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The building in question is Mill Annexe Two, which has been plagued by anti-social behaviour as it lies vacant and crumbling.

Standing for more than 100 years, the mills have been begging for restoration and have been the subject of numerous unsuccessful planning applications.

The news comes just days after Wigan firefighters, police and paramedics were called to the site to reports of people trespassing in the building and a fire being lit.

The call was made last Wednesday afternoon at around 2.45pm to Unit 2 off Pottery Terrace and Swan Meadow Road.

When Wigan crews arrived they combed the building, but could find no-one inside. There were remnants of a fire and smoke could be smelt nearby.

Watch manager Gareth Gray said: “It’s all going to be demolished now. The chimney is going to be demolished.

“Anyone who is trespassing in there is dicing with death.

“There are holes in the walls and it is crumbling. It is not a place for kids.

“The road nearby has also been closed off to stop people from going in.”

Firefighters have warned people to stay away from the area in the coming weeks.

No decision has yet been made, but the council has confirmed that it is “in talks” about the future of the building, and that demolition is a possibility.

Marie Bintley, Wigan Council’s assistant director for housing and growth, said: “We have serious concerns about the condition of this building within the listed Eckersley Mills complex and as a result have already taken steps to close Pottery Terrace to protect the public.

“We would like to thank people for respecting this closure and not trying to use this stretch of Pottery Terrace.

“We are currently liaising with the owners and Historic England to discuss the future of the listed building.”

There is no current demolition application in place for the listed building, and the road closed off is not a main route around the area. Eckersley Mills remain a focal point for activity in Wigan, and many of the buildings remain in use by various ventures such as the Wigan Roller Rink.

The area has also been used as a backdrop for popular BBC primetime drama Peaky Blinders.

Last year TV crews descended on the mills to film scenes for the fourth series of the period show, which follows a family of gangsters in Birmingham after the First World War.

More recently the building has been a target for arsonists and there have been a series of fires set within the grounds.

In June, firefighters tackled a blaze for more than an hour after trespassers gained access to the site through the back of Wigan Roller Rink and started a fire inside.