Death trap to be demolished

Images of Emmanuel Christian School taken by members of websire Urban Explorers
Images of Emmanuel Christian School taken by members of websire Urban Explorers
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LONG suffering residents told of their joy after it was announced buildings on a ‘death trap’ site will be demolished.

The move comes after The Gazette revealed shocking images of dilapidated buildings at risk of collapse at the former Fylde Farm site earlier this year.

Images of Emmanuel Christian School taken by members of websire Urban Explorers

Images of Emmanuel Christian School taken by members of websire Urban Explorers

And it follows new ‘glamorised’ images of the Emmanuel Christian School, a derelict building on the site, posted on Urban Explorer website – run by an underground group who gain access to prominent urban locations across the UK.

These images have led to increased fears a child will be killed on the waste ground and have fuelled calls from community leaders to flatten the ‘potential death trap’.

Now, following months of campaigning and threats of legal action by Wyre Council, the North West Young People’s Development Trust - owners of the Normoss Road plot, say a demolition firm will move on site next week.

It is hoped removing the buildings will dissuade trespassers, including ‘urban explorers’ from accessing the site.

A spokesman confirmed Westmoreland House and the Fylde school cottages, once used as staff housing, will be knocked down.

It is believed other buildings including the former Emmanuel Christian School, Cheshire House and the secure housing used as the main building of the school will remain intact until a buyer is confirmed.

Negotiations are ongoing but the sale of the site is expected to be completed within the next eight weeks.

Sylvia Holdsworth, of Sefton Avenue, said she was ‘over the moon’ to hear something was finally getting done.

She said: “This is really good news. There was another fire at the site on Thursday night, we have had enough of worrying about it now.

“It looks like we could see some real movement now and after all this time it is such a relief to all the residents near the farm to see something happening.

“Although the buildings coming down next week are the furthest away from our house it is a start, but I would have liked to have seen more of the dilapidated buildings go.”

In April, Wyre Council stepped in and issued an order requiring the North West Young people’s Development Trust to demolish or make safe Westmoreland House.

Wyre councillor Barry Birch, who has long feared a death at the site which he described as a ‘mini Beirut’ said he was pleased to the owners had paid heed to the warnings.

He said: “We put an order on Westmoreland and the Fylde school cottages as they were the most dangerous buildings on the site.

“Fire and vandalism had left them is such a state of disrepair they could have collapsed at any time and with children using the area as a playground, it had become a potential death trap.

“It is fairly good news, I would like to see what happens over the coming weeks and hope when the sale is complete, the new owners will work with us.”

The site was once home to Fylde School, a correctional institute for young people.

But the school’s closure and a failed planning application has seen the area become derelict.

The Emmanuel Christian school moved onto the site in 2003 and remained until last year but was forced to close following repeated vandal attacks – which have cost the public over £60,000 in emergency call outs.

Commenting on the new images of the Emmanuel school, Lancashire watch manager Colin Hickson said anyone who ‘glamorised’ trespassing on private and dangerous property was breaking the law.

He said: “Once again we must reiterate how unsafe this site is and anyone even considering entering should think again.

“The buildings are in a worse state than earlier this year because of the amount of damage caused by constant fire and vandal attacks.

“Unfortunately that is the way of the net these days, I don’t know how we can stop these websites from glamorising locations such as Fylde Farm.

“It does attract a lot of interest but it really isn’t safe to access and those that do are breaking the law.

“We have been running safety campaigns with the police in schools throughout Poulton and on the Blackpool boundary but we now have the school holidays to contend with.

“I have been told the site may be sold within seven or eight weeks but unfortunately that means the buildings will remain in a dangerous state throughout the summer break.”