Urgent calls for action at death trap derelict mill

An emergency meeting has been held at Wigan Town Hall to discuss the future of the abandoned Pagefield building off Mesnes Park.

Tuesday, 14th June 2016, 8:00 am
Authorities are pleading with trespassers not to go on the abandoned mill site

The action comes after a ward councillor warned a fatal accident was a likelihood at the derelict site if security measures are not stepped up.

Youths were seen exploring the death-trap multi-storey former mill this weekend with local residents watching on horrified that tragedy could be one slip away.

Representatives from the emergency services met with town hall officers and ward councillor George Davies last week and have called on the owner’s of the site to take action.

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Youths in the abandoned building

The town hall remained tight-lipped about what the specific outcomes of the meeting were apart from re-iterating that officers were in contact with the owners of the site.

Coun George Davies (pictured top right), who represents Wigan Central ward, called for the emergency meeting after a blaze was started at the site at the end of last month.

He said: “There will be a death. One of those kids will die. People’s safety comes first and action needs to be taken now.”

Last week the Evening Post revealed fire service figures showing the strain placed on emergency crews by call-outs to Pagefield.

Youths in the abandoned building

Crews have been called no fewer than 24 occasions dating back to 2009 with those visits taking up more than 60 fire engines.

The major blaze suspected to have been started by a youth gang in March last year was by far the most serious with 18 pumps.

Fire officers have regularly issued safety pleas about the site, emphasising to trespassers that they are not only placing themselves at risk but those of firefighters who are required to check the building.

The derelict site is strewn with debris and the floors are structurally compromised meaning one slip could cause a tragic accident.

Mike Worden (pictured bottom right), assistant director for planning and transport at Wigan Council, said: “We continue to work with the representatives of the owners of the site to make it as secure as possible and we are also working with the police on this issue.

“The fencing and other security measures have been put in place for a reason and it is important for anyone considering entering this site to remember that not only is trespassing illegal but they are also putting themselves in potential danger.”

Following similar safety calls last year, the council installed CCTV cameras, new hoardings and a sensor mechanism which is monitored by officers.

But these measures are seemingly not acting as a deterrent to the marauding youths pictured in these worrying images taken by a concerned local resident.

One homeowner who lives close to the site told the Evening Post: “We have seen these groups inside the building for several days.

“They have been throwing bits of the mill over the side, peeing over the side, hammering away, walking across beams above the burnt out section and numerous other things.

“It won’t be long until somebody is seriously hurt. We’ve had major fires there and whatever security measures are there at the moment are not working.”

The building, formerly Rylands Mill, is owned by foreign-based Pagefield Property Ltd whose bosses have been in discussions with the town hall about improving security.

Following last month’s blaze, watch manager Tony Callaghan said: “We were called to yet another potentially serious fire at the building. There is a potential for serious injury as there is so much debris. It is really frustrating having to commit resources for a length of time to this. We have limited resources that could be needed elsewhere. We had pumps from all stations across the borough on Thursday night. Our crews were there for 90 minutes.”