Town battered by the storms

Flooded Marsh Playing Fields in Leigh
Flooded Marsh Playing Fields in Leigh

WIGAN was battered by fierce gales and rain which cause major damage to buildings, street signs and fences.

Residents had a lucky escape after 50mph winds blew wood panels off the 12th floor roof of a block of flats.

Multiple slats of wood were flung about on the roof of Derby House, Scholes, on Wednesday evening before finally coming completely loose and being hurled 100ft onto the footpath below.

This was just one in a series of incidents which saw buildings ravaged across the borough by extreme winds that have hit the country during the last week.

Leigh Indoor Sports Centre (LISC) has been closed until further notice because of structural damage caused by the winds.

It was closed for two days as engineers could not safely get onto the roof to repair the damage because of the danger posed by the wind.

Sharon Quinnell, who owns a flat at Derby House, said: “It really is lucky that nobody was killed because something falling from 100ft up could easily kill someone if they were hit.

“I heard banging on Wednesday evening so I went out and had a look and I could see these wood panels held on just by their hinges hitting against the wall.

“I reported it to the concierge but was told that because of health and safety nobody would be able to go up on the roof to secure them, but to me it would be more than a health and safety concern if they blew off and killed someone.

“At about 10.20pm they did fall off and smashed on the floor, and luckily nobody was around.”

The 53-year-old part-time hairdresser says that somebody came out to make sure that nobody could get into the back gate where the panels were and although some of the debris was cleared a lot was left behind.

In other reports overnight debris including bins and plant pots were blown onto Wigan Lower Road causing a hazard to drivers.

A large tree had fallen across the pavement on Whelley, near to Canon Sharples School and a For Sale sign was stuck through a street sign at Kirkless Street, Ince.

An entire wall was blown over in Lily Lane, Abram, and a fence panel dislodged and blew onto the other side of the road on Spring Road, Orrell.

There was also suggestions that Leigh Centurians could not train at the stadium because access was prevented by a cordon around LISC.

It is expected that the winds will drop enough for engineers to repair the roof at LISC today.

A spokesman for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, which manages the sports centre, said: “Leigh Indoor Sports Centre has been closed from January 3 due to structural damage to the roof caused by the recent strong winds.

“The winds have also impeded the repairs being made to the roof due to health and safety.

“The work, which is minimal, to secure the roof covering back in place, is planned for today at which point the centre will reopen.”