Major safety work to reduce the danger posed by a massive derelict mill in Wigan is to be carried out.
Wigan Council, in partnership with Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, has arranged for work to take place at Pagefield Mill.
The privately-owned listed mill has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour and trespassers for a number of years.
The council has repeatedly urged the owner of the building to adequately secure the site to prevent trespassing – with young people often putting their lives at risk by playing in the dangerous complex.
Local ward councillors have raised their concerns fearing that a serious accident is likely due to the site being so dangerous.
Material on the site also poses a significant fire risk and general risk to health and safety.
The council has used legal powers to serve notice on the building’s owners instructing them to make the site safe and secure.
This legal deadline has now passed and the council has been left with no option but to carry out the work themselves and then reclaim the costs.
This will include:
- Removal and disposal of all building rubble throughout the site.
- Removal of asbestos material from weaving sheds and disposal.
- Sealing up of access points to former underground air raid shelters.
- Sealing up access points to chimney stack.
- Removal of giant hogweed plants, which can cause serious burns.
From Monday 11th September, contractors will enter the site and are expected to be there for two weeks.
After this is complete the second phase of making the site safe will involve building a more robust fence around the perimeter of the site due to the current fence proving ineffective in keeping trespassers out.
Councillor David Molyneux, deputy leader of Wigan Council, said: “The council and its partners are taking responsible and preventative action on this very dangerous site.
“Unfortunately we have exhausted all other options and we have come to the point where we must take matters into our own hands in order to make it safe.
“The alternative is leaving the site insecure and in an unsatisfactory condition with the worst case scenario that we have a young person seriously injured or lose their life.
“That is every parents’ worst nightmare and one which we are determined to do everything we can to prevent.
“The works have been agreed with the full support of the local ward councillors, who share residents’ concern about the site.
“We would continue to urge people to stay away from the site and ask parents to ensure their children do not go there as their lives are at risk.”
Residents near the mill site will be contacted by the council directly informing them about the activity on the site.
The council will be placing a charge on the building in order to recover the cost of the clear up and the fence installation.