Town hall could face legal action over the demolition of a Wigan garage wall

A mother and son are threatening to take legal action after a wall outside their hair salon was knocked down.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 3:47 pm
Mr Millar now plans to take legal action against the council

Diana Millar, who runs Charisma Hair on Mesnes Road, and her son Jason Millar were twice told the garage wall was dangerous and needed to be made safe.

The roof partially collapsed around five months ago but the walls were still standing and the garage was subject to an insurance claim.

But around a month later they were contacted by a member of staff at Wigan Council who said the wall was unsafe.

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Mr Millar says they were given two hours to resolve the situation or he would use his powers under section 78 of the Building Act 1984 to force them to knock it down.

Mr Millar removed loose bricks and the wall was judged to be safe.

But the officer returned a few weeks later, again saying the wall was unsafe and they had to do something about it within two hours.

Mr Millar could not get there in time and claims a contractor arrived just 43 minutes later to demolish the wall.

He is furious that they were not given more time to take action and questioned how the wall had become unsafe again, saying nothing had changed.

He is upset the council threatened to use powers under section 78, which are for emergency circumstances.

Mr Millar said: “It’s not good enough to ring someone up, say you have two hours to clean it up and have your contractor who comes round 43 minutes later and knocks it down. It’s beyond belief.”

He says his 79-year-old mother was left in tears by what happened.

Mr Millar now plans to take legal action against the council, seeking £5,000 to rebuild the wall as well as damages.

Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing at the council, said: “Our building control officers are trained and qualified to effectively assess the stability and safety of a range of outdoor structures including walls, buildings, bridges and roofs.

“We will always give building owners the opportunity to make their buildings and structures safe themselves in the first instance, however, public safety is, as always, our upmost priority, which is why safety works are required to take place at the earliest convenience.

“Any formal complaints received by the council are always investigated in line with standard practice.”