Wigan businesses take hit from dangerous mill wall

The wall at Eckersley Mill from above. Drone picture by Brian King
The wall at Eckersley Mill from above. Drone picture by Brian King

Wigan businesses who were moved from their homes more than a month ago after a dangerous wall threatened public safety say that they have still not returned to their premises.

A handful of companies located on Pottery Terrace were evacuated at the beginning of June after a wall at the listed Eckersley Mill became dangerously unstable.

Since then, both of the businesses have been temporarily based elsewhere, only last week hearing of plans to move them back in at the end of the month.

Owners of The Wendy House Nursery and More than Words CIC have since spoken out, saying that the uncertainty has had a negative impact on their businesses.

Wendy Scanlan, founder of The Wendy House, said: “The last few weeks have been very concerning. After five years of being successful, my business has taken a big hit.

“We have had to uproot and move to Marsh Green Primary School and we are so grateful to them but for existing parents that’s just a nightmare, walking the extra distance or being stuck in traffic.

“Sadly, some people have decided they will have to take their children out and go elsewhere because it just isn’t convenient for them anymore.

“Before this happened we were having show rounds every day, but now we haven’t had any interest.

“We have been told now that we will be back in by the end of month, we are just really keen to get back to normal, it’s gone on for too long.”

More than Words Advocacy CIC, which provides services for adults with learning and physical disabilities, were also forced to find a temporary base after being moved from their building.

The group, which runs on “very limited” funding, appealed to the public for anywhere that could offer a temporary space, concerned that vulnerable people would be left without their services. The community interest company gives its users a means of expressing themselves through the Self-Advocacy Board Project and have their say about life in the borough.

The town hall says it has been working with external agencies to try and have the wall removed and the businesses moved back in as soon as possible.

Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing, said: “Following the significant damage to the Eckersley Mill site, public safety remains our primary concern.

“We are working closely with the owner to determine the best course of action with the remaining building.

“We will continue to engage with Historic England to see what support they can offer to ensure the complex does not deteriorate further.

“We understand the disruption this has caused to the businesses and the impact it’s had on their services and thank them for their cooperation. We have reassured them we are doing what we can to resolve the situation and we will continue to offer our support.”