Deathtrap fears over ‘bomb site’

Derelict buildings at the former Fylde Farm site, off Normoss Road, Poulton.

Derelict buildings at the former Fylde Farm site, off Normoss Road, Poulton.

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Shocking images which have led to fears a child will be killed at a derelict former school.

Dilapidated buildings at Fylde Farm are at risk of collapse and community leaders say the site has become a “potential death trap”.

Firefighters at Fylde Farm, Poulton le Fylde.

Firefighters at Fylde Farm, Poulton le Fylde.

Youngsters use the Normoss site as an adventure playground, clambering around the rubble and climbing on partially demolished buildings.

Meanwhile, vandals and firebugs have continually attacked the site causing 31 emergency service call-outs which have cost the public £60,000.

Locals now fear an “imminent death” on the site, which was used as a correctional facility for teenagers before its closure in 2000.

Wyre councillor Barry Birch described the abandoned land off Normoss Road as a ‘mini Beirut’.

Firefighters at Fylde Farm, Poulton le Fylde.

Firefighters at Fylde Farm, Poulton le Fylde.

He said: “The area is being used as a waste ground by fly-tippers. Cables and wiring are spread out around the ground and the buildings could crumble at any point.

“We do not know if the service plans are in existence and on inquiry no-one seemed to know if there are electricity cables running under the site or if they have been disconnected.

“The area is not secure so anyone can wander in at any time and I am surprised no-one has been killed – I fear there will be an imminent death and would warn parents to keep their children away.”

The site is owned by Northwest Young People’s Development Trust (NYPDT) but 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.

Sylvia Houldsworth, 71, of neighbouring Sefton Avenue, said she has twice had to call environmental health officers out because of vermin in the garden.

She said: “It’s a very upsetting situation, my husband used to work at Fylde School and we remember what it used to look like.

“Now it is a bomb site, an extremely dangerous bomb site and an absolute eyesore from our perspective.

Mrs Houldsworth says she has seen groups of up to six children running along the rooftops of derelict buildings.

She said: “All the slates have been removed and it is seriously a matter of time before someone falls through and dies.

“It’s terrifying, an absolute hazard, it scares me what is going on up there, I see vans driving in and out all the time. I want to see the land stripped and a new development put in its place.”

Coun Roger Berry, Wyre’s cabinet member with responsibility for community safety, said NYPDT had ignored the council’s concerns.

He said: “Our argument is this is a young people’s development trust and really they do not give a damn about the young people going onto this site risking their life on a daily basis.

“We have contacted the trust but nothing seems to get done because they haven’t got the cash required to properly clean up the site.

“As a cash-strapped council we have not got the resources to demolish the derelict buildings as it would cost our tax payers around £200,000.

“But our residents have had enough, especially those on neighbouring streets who are now dealing with rat infestations from this awful mess.”

The site is now back on the market and an application to renew outline planning permission for a large scale development has been submitted to the council.

Terry Seddon, who has lived adjacent to Fylde Farm for 25 years, said urgent attention was required.

He added: “It’s beyond a joke, it has gone on for far too long, we’ve had to get the rat catchers out twice in 18 months.

“The site is now distressing to look at, the least the owners could do would be to secure it to stop fly tipping.

“It’s a fire hazard, we’re constantly seeing blue flashing lights going up there.”

Firefighters have attended 31 incidents in the past four years - including building and rubbish fires - at a cost of nearly £60,000 to the tax payer.

They are warning the public to stay away from the site, which is now also littered with asbestos.

Colin Hickson, watch manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said: “The site has become a potential death trap to all members of the public and emergency services who have to enter.

“The buildings have been left in a partially demolished and unstable state and are at risk of collapse at any time.

“And if the asbestos goes up then we have a serious situation on our hands, one which will have a detrimental affect on public safety.

“We cannot state strongly enough how dangerous the site has become and that no-one should attempt to enter the buildings or the site.

Mr Hickson said officers had become aware of a growing number of young people who are using the site as an adventure play area.

He added: “We ask parents, schools and members of the community for their support in delivering the message of the dangers and consequences of accessing this site.”

A spokesman for the NYPDT said: “The trust have for some time been in communication and discussion with Wyre Council and other bodies regarding the site.

“The trustees continue to respond and deal with their requirements on an ongoing basis.”