Gates are '˜open invitation' to site

Youths are still risking their lives at the site of a derelict mill - despite efforts to step up security.

Wednesday, 30th November 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:32 pm
Gates left open at the Pagefield site

New fencing was erected around the Pagefield building in Swinley earlier this year in a bid to keep young people out.

It followed an increasing number of fires and youths entering derelict buildings on the former college and mill site next to Mesnes Park.

But a resident of nearby Walkden Avenue said gates were open so people were still getting in.

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Stuart Thomas, who has lived there for three years, said he sees young people in the mill and even climbing the chimney.

He said: “We had a bit of a lull and it was quite calm and quiet but it seems the gates are being left open.

“I don’t know if they are being broken open or left open by contractors or security.”

Mr Thomas is concerned about what will happen if there continues to be access to the Pagefield site.

He said: “If they don’t close the gates, it is an open invitation for people to go in there. Eventually we are going to have an injury, if not deaths.”

He fears someone could be seriously hurt.

Mr Thomas said: “It’s an old building and it takes one slip and fall on a bit of rotten wood or rusted steel and you are going to get a serious injury there, if not a death.”

He is calling on Wigan Council and the police to put pressure on the owners of the site to close the gates so that it is secure.

The Pagefield site has been a problem for some time and became a haven for youths.

Council bosses stepped in earlier this year and demolished a smaller outbuilding, which had been damaged by fire.

They are seeking to recover the £70,000 demolition bill from the building’s foreign-based owners.

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

Mike Worden, the council’s assistant director for planning and transport, said: “We will pass on the concerns to the security firm looking after the site.

“We are taking legal steps to recover the costs incurred in demolishing the dangerous building on the site, but the owners put up and paid for the new fencing.”

The Evening Post attempted to contact owners Pagefield Properties Ltd but they did not respond.