Deathtrap mill’s defences are broken

Gates left open at the Pagefield building in Wigan after the lock was vandalised
Gates left open at the Pagefield building in Wigan after the lock was vandalised

Action should be taken to keep youngsters away from a “dangerous” former mill site, according to a borough councillor.

Wigan Central representative Coun George Davies is concerned after a lock was vandalised on gates to the Pagefield building in Swinley.

He says residents have seen people walk in and out of the derelict site since the damage was done more than four weeks ago. He is worried about the risks they face at the former mill and college site, which has been abandoned and targeted by arsonists in recent years.

Coun Davies said: “Youngsters are just walking through the gates. I’m concerned about innocent youngsters who may think it’s a bit of a hideout and a play den. I want to get the gates locked. We need to make sure no-one can get in.”

The site, next to Mesnes Park, is owned by Pagefield Properties Ltd and is up for sale for £2.5m. But in recent years it has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, with youths entering the derelict buildings, climbing onto the roof and starting fires.

Wigan Council stepped in last year to demolish a fire-damaged outbuilding then sent the £70,000 demolition bill to the building’s owners.

New fencing was also put up around the site by the owners to protect it and prevent people getting inside.

But the Evening Post reported in November that there were concerns about the gates being left open and people getting in.

Security on the site is the responsibility of the owners and Coun Davies wants the gates to be secured as soon as possible to restrict entry. He is also calling for a meeting involving councillors, the council’s anti-social behaviour and safeguarding teams, the emergency services and the owners to look at security.

Coun Davies said: “It’s not our responsibility - it’s not the council’s building, it’s privately owned - but it’s open up to anti-social behaviour and dangerous for youngsters who are just think that it’s a little den. We need to keep youngsters and other people out of this dangerous site.”