Fears over youths risking their lives at Wigan mill

Youths are putting their lives in danger by returning to a derelict mill - despite numerous attempts to keep them away.

Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 12:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 1:11 pm
The old Pagefield Mill

Pagefield Mill in Swinley has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour since becoming vacant several years ago.

Youths have been going into the dilapidated old mill, climbing onto the roof or up a 100ft-tall chimney, starting fires, painting graffiti and causing other damage.

Many efforts have been made to keep them out, including new fencing and dangerous buildings demolished.

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The problems seemed to have abated, but young people have now started to return to the site.

Fresh appeals have been made for them to stay away and the risks are being highlighted.

A post on Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan West Facebook page said: "We have had multiple reports of youths going into the old Pagefield building next Mesnes Park. This place is extremely dangerous. Please DO NOT enter this building. We are working with the owners to try and prevent these issues from happening."

One mother told the Post she was very worried that her child would get injured or even killed on the site.

She said: "There are lots of dangers in that building. There are tunnels and air raid shelters and all sorts there. It’s very dangerous."

She hopes more can be done to secure the site and reduce the risks to youngsters.

She added: "I know it’s a grade II-listed building and they are not going to demolish it, but what’s more important - a grade II-listed building or a child’s life?"

With the summer months approaching, there are fears that more youths will return to the site.

The Pagefield building was previously a mill and then used by a college, but it has been vacant for some time.

It has been plagued by trespassing, anti-social behaviour and arson attacks.

Wigan Council used legal powers to serve notice on the building’s private owners last year, instructing them to make the site safe and secure.

But this was not done and the council, along with the police and fire service, decided to take action instead.

Marie Bintley, the council’s assistant director for housing and growth, said: "We have been made aware of claims that people have gained access to the Pagefield building.

"Our officers will be visiting the site as soon as possible and will be working with the owners to ensure the site is made secure once again, following the significant investment made by the council and its partners to make this site safe and secure.

"We are also working closely with Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service to ensure the safety of people visiting the area is maintained.

"We would advise everyone to stay clear of the area and to not access the extremely dangerous site."