Old Wednesbury church collapse prompts pleas for action

Calls have been made for landowners to take action over a derelict church after parts of it collapsed, prompting safety fears.

A section of the church hall on Ridding Lane in Wednesbury came crashing down - much to the shock of the community.

Councillor Elaine Costigan, who represents the Wednesbury North ward, has now urged the council to address the issue with the landowners.

She believes the former Ridding Lane Methodist Free Church has left standing empty for more than 20 years.

Cllr Cositgan said: "I couldn't believe I saw when I came down. I think the site is dangerous. I feel concerned for residents living close by. What would happen in a thunder storm?

"One of the residents thought it was an explosion when it collapsed.

"The fire brigade came out and told the owners to demolish it.

"I think because the church is such an old building it is waiting to happen.

"The owners have got to do something about it.

"The council has received a lot of enquiries regarding the church and they have served notice on the land owner and fined them previously."

The collapse took place on Wednesday (24).

Pictures taken from the scene show the damage left in the wake of the incident.

Parts of the structure has crumbled onto the ground leaving bricks and other debris lying on the floor.

A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said firefighters were called to the scene of the building at 4.51pm to 'the partial collapse of a derelict building'.

Police were in attendance alongside representatives from Sandwell Council.

A total of eight firefighters attended from Wednesbury and Willenhall.

One business owner said they heard a big bang and puff of smoke following the collapse.

Elaine said the church was converted to a warehouse, dating back around 35 years, before it became derelict.

It is the latest derelict building in the town that has prompted safety fears from the community.

A petition was launched to tackle the state of the former Cottage Inn Public House in Wood Green Road.

More than 80 people gave their signatures, prompting Sandwell Council to serve a notice on the land owner to clean up the site.

The local authority served a Section 215 Notice, under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

It will come into effect on June 5 and give the land owners six weeks to carry out the work.

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