One year after blaze, fences built for protection

UNSAFE SITE: Tommy Shorrock has put a fence up to secure the site on Arley Street, where a fire destroyed Apex House a year ago
UNSAFE SITE: Tommy Shorrock has put a fence up to secure the site on Arley Street, where a fire destroyed Apex House a year ago

Concerned residents living near a burnt-out Chorley factory say they have been forced to build their own security fences to stop children getting hurt.

Apex House on Arley Street was completely destroyed by a fire 12 months ago.

People living nearby now say the remains of the building is being used as a dangerous playground by local children, who are leaping off ledges.

Tommy Shorrock, who owns five of the properties on Arley Street, said: “I’ve put up a fence to stop people going onto the site, but I can’t do anything to stop the kids coming here, and someone’s going to get killed.

“It’s like they have competitions with each other to see who can jump from the highest point, and something needs to be done to stop it, especially with the summer months coming up.

“It desperately needs a fence putting there, but nobody seems to be taking responsibility for the site.”

The former units and office space were demolished a few days after firefighters tackled the blaze on May 1 last yea.

Tommy says he and his tenants were promised a fence would be put up.

But when no action was taken, Tommy forked out around £2,500 to put up a steel fence to separate the houses from the site himself.

He has also spent £31,000 replacing the front doors, windowpanes and gutters of his properties after they were badly burnt, of which he managed to claim £25,000 back from an insurance company. The costs just keep adding up,” he said.

“My insurance is sky-high now because of all the claims I’ve made.

“I’m absolutely fed-up with this, I thought it would all be sorted out by now.”

He added: “I’ll keep fighting, because we still have a long way to go. The road outside the houses is damaged from the machines which ripped down Apex House, and there’s also a litter problem on the site, especially close to where the children play.”

The houses are also close to the railway line, and the noise of the trains’ horns were muffled by the building before it was taken down.

But now, they are loud and clear to everyone living in the row of houses, and Tommy says that’s also become a major issue for residents.

“I think a wall should be built to block out the noises,” he said.

“I’ve tried to contact the owners of the site a number of times to get answers, but I haven’t been able to speak to anybody about it in the last year.”

Rhino Properties UK Ltd, based in Liverpool, owns the land, but the Evening Post was also unable to reach bosses.

Lesley-Ann Fenton, Chorley Council’s Director for Partnerships, Planning and Policy, said: “The owners of the site are responsible for its security.

“If residents believe that the site is becoming a target for anti-social behaviour, we will take a look and ask the owners to improve security.

“Vacant sites can be dangerous so I’d urge people to stay away.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue believe the fire was caused deliberately, but have now drawn a line under the investigation.