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Efforts start to stabilise “dangerous” building
Monday 9th September, 2013

Work will begin today (Monday 9 September) to stabilise Wigan’s old town hall after parts of it were found to be “dangerously unsound”.

The building has been derelict for many years and part of what’s left is now close to collapse. Emergency action to demolish this unstable section will begin immediately to protect public safety. The work is expected to take two weeks.

Wigan Council carries out regular checks on the structure to ensure it is safe. Recent tests have shown the part of the building facing King Street has eroded to such an extent it is being propped up by badly weathered brickwork. The only way of making the building safe is to demolish that section. This view has been backed by independent surveyors, including officers from English Heritage. The remaining part of the building on Rodney Street will be retained.

The council moved out of the old town hall into its current home in the 1990s and the former building, which is listed, passed into private ownership. Since then, attempts to develop the site have been frustrated. What’s left of the building is derelict and most of the site is now used as a private car park with only a small section of the original building still standing.

Steve Normington, director of economy at Wigan Council, said: “It’s regrettable this action has to be taken but we have no choice. Our number one priority is public safety. If we fail to act, we risk the building collapsing, potentially damaging surrounding buildings and endangering people’s safety.

“Engineers for the owners of the site agree with our decision because they recognise the section in question is unsafe and beyond repair. English Heritage is in agreement too. It has become dangerously unsound and we must take action. We recognise there will be some local disruption but this will be kept to a minimum and the demolition should be complete within two weeks.”

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