Firm thwarted in battle to be vandal-proofed

Fleetsmart, in Bridgeman Terrace, which is boarded up after vandalism
Fleetsmart, in Bridgeman Terrace, which is boarded up after vandalism

A WIGAN business has hit out at the council for lack of support after being vandalised THREE times.

Nick Wilkinson, who owns a three-story unit in Bridgeman Terrace to run his vehicle tracking software firm, is fighting to get shutters installed to protect the property from vandals who have caused thousands of pounds’ damage.

Almost a month ago, the top floor of the premises were burgled while scaffolding was erected to carry out some painting work.

Then two days later, 26 double glazed window panes were smashed on the ground floor and marauding yobs returned to inflict more damage a few days later.

The police have been informed and inquiries are ongoing. Bridegeman Terrace is currently included within one of the local dispersal order zones, meaning police have the power to move gangs away from the site if they are causing anti-social behaviour.

Meanwhile, Mr Wilkinson has contacted Wigan Council for permission to erect roller shutters. But this has been denied because it is in a conservation area. Installation of CCTV has also been refused.

He said: “We are extremely disappointed at the lack of assistance we are receiving from Wigan Council. “The proposal of shutters being declined is ludicrous as only 200 yards down the road there are businesses with them.

“Given the extent of damage in conjunction with the fact they would be down only at evening and weekends, seems madness.

“We were prepared to pay extra to have them black powder-coated so that they didn’t have the galvanised industrial look. Do they prefer the boarded-up look? Our tenants certainly don’t and I would welcome comments from local businesses.

“We have looked at spending £3,500 on improved CCTV ourselves, £1,000 on lighting and £3,500 on the roller shutters but the council seems hesitant to asset in any way right now.

“In the meantime the place remains boarded up with people working behind those boards. We are expected to sit in line to run it through planning which could take a further eight weeks.

“This is unacceptable given we pay business rates like anyone else, receive absolutely nothing in return. All we are asking is that they fast-track this matter so that we can return the building to an acceptable appearance.”

Steve Normington, director of economy at Wigan Council, said: “We’re more than happy to work with them to try to improve their security.

“Doing this is slightly complicated by the fact the building lies in a conservation area. We have a duty to protect the character and integrity of such areas and our conservation officer has deemed external shutters would not be appropriate.

“We are willing to discuss other options with the company and our officer has agreed to meet the company.”