'˜Stay away' - New warning over site
The owners of a derelict mill face a Â£152,000 bill as council bosses take more action to stop youths risking their lives there.
Wigan Council has decided to pay for additional security measures to prevent people accessing the Pagefield building in Swinley.
The abandoned site, next to Mesnes Park, has become a hotspot for young people in recent years, leading to a string of 999 calls to deal with arson attacks and other anti-social behaviour.
The Post recently published photographs showing a group of youths at the top of a 100ft-tall chimney on the site.
There have been many calls for something to be done, amid fears that someone could be seriously hurt or even killed there.
The grade II-listed building is privately owned, but the council said it had been attempting to locate the owners for several months without success.
Now, the council, police and fire service are working together to make the site safe, ease the pressure on the emergency services and reduce the risk of a serious incident.
The council will now pay for additional security measures to keep people away from the site. A new 4.2m fence will be erected over the summer and the rubbish and debris on site will be removed, as will the giant hogweed that has started to appear.
The measures will cost around £72,000 and the council will use its legal powers to charge the owners and retrieve the money.
It will take the total bill for the owners to £152,000, as the council last year spent £80,000 of tax-payers’ money on demolishing one of the fire-damaged buildings on the site.
It also arranged for the owners to erect new fencing, but there have been complaints about the gates being left unlocked.
In a joint statement, the council, police and fire service once again urged people to stay away from the Pagefield building.
They said: “This is an extremely dangerous site, which is attracting many people to enter and explore.
“Unauthorised access to the site is considered as trespassing. The building has many hidden dangers including missing floor boards, holes in the roof and exposed lift shafts all which could have potential fatal consequences.
“We can only urge once again that parents take responsibility to ensure that their children do not enter the site, teenagers and youths are particularly problematic who are entering the site on a frequent basis in the name of fun. Please ensure that your children are prevented from entering the site.
“The demand on over-stretched public resources is immense and the support of the public in staying away from this location is necessary to ensure we do not have a serious injury or fatality.”
In May, the council identified the owner and representatives of the Pagefield building as Trident Trust, Sloane International Developments and Hill And Standard.
The Post made attempts to contact all three companies at the time by telephone, but was unsuccessful, and received no response to our emails.