Frustration at eyesore dangerous Wigan building

Coun James Eccles-Churton and Coun Paul Blay on Bridge Street in Hindley
Coun James Eccles-Churton and Coun Paul Blay on Bridge Street in Hindley

A councillor has shared the deep frustrations of representatives and residents over a dangerous building which caused a road closure.

Coun Paul Blay for Hindley ward spoke out after important through-route Bridge Street had to be shut entirely because the former shop was feared to be on the verge of collapse.

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The whole building had to be demolished and the road was closed to drivers for three days, reopening yesterday afternoon.

Pedestrians will be barred a little longer while the last bits of work are carried out and a hoarding put up but the pavement should be open by the end of the week.

Coun Blay said the eyesore has been generating a bulging postbag for years and hit out at laws which he said give local authorities too few powers to address the problem.

He said: “This building must be one of the top five reasons people contact us as councillors.

“It looks absolutely atrocious and has done for a long time, and it then became dangerous as well at both the front and back.

“I know the council has been doing its best within the constraints of the law on properties that get into this state.

“I believe the council has offered to buy this property and so has the shop next door, but to be honest the owners have been very unhelpful.

“We think they have been very disrespectful to everyone in Hindley leaving the building in such a state.

“We have had some bad press over the state of Market Street but when they are all private properties we are limited in what we can do. The law protects the owners.

“I don’t think there has been any lack of trying to get this resolved.”

The road closures prevented motorists using a key route in and out of the borough, with Bridge Street linking Hindley to Westhoughton and the M61 motorway. Bus services also had to be rerouted.

Coun Blay said council officers had little choice but to act and hoped this week’s events would bring the matter to a close.

He said: “They’ve had no option but to close off the road. It is unimaginable what might have happened had it collapsed with the road open and somebody was there.

“That would just have been crazy with the building being on a main road into Wigan.

“It wasn’t the best timing with the resurfacing work on Hall Lane and Ladies Lane for resurfacing but fortunately that got finished. It could have been the perfect storm but I don’t think things have been too bad.

“It has been a long journey but hopefully we are now getting to the end with the building’s demolition.”

The council said preventing people getting hurt was the most important thing but it would be recouping the costs of the demolition from the building’s owner, who has been warned about the state of it by the town hall.

Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing at Wigan Council, said: “Public safety is our main priority and we needed to take immediate action since the building owner failed to make the building safe, despite being served several notices to do so. Due to the condition of the building, we had no option but to step in.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused but public safety must be our focus.”

The council did face some complaints from Hindley residents on its Facebook page.