Survey of Security and Safety Freshford Mill

Introduction

Owing to poor maintenance by the present owners Suttons at the former Peradin's factory, known as Freshford Mill, there has been and continues to be a lapse in proper security February 2007.  Last year travellers gained access to the site (and this year). Apart from leaving a lot of waste they tapped into the electrical supply to the site. Recently, there was a rave. Although the gates are padlocked and barbed wire has been placed above and on the gates and also along the bottom anyone can gain vehicular access by simply cutting through the padlock chain with a portable grinder in a few minutes.  A local man's car was also vandalised and locals disturbed by loud music.  No doubt there would also have been consumption of drugs.   Extensive graffiti and broken windows and other damage is evident.  The new owners, details to follow,  have taken quick action to improve security (March 2007) photo below at the foot of the page. I thought at first that the new owners had decided to place a watchman on the site, but was told that the caravans etc did belong to travellers

Duty of Care

The site is derelict and although there are notices warning would be trespassers that the site is dangerous, it is very easy to gain access and has got even easier.  Mention has been made elsewhere that there is a  colony of rare bats roosting in at least one of the buildings.  The owners of the site have a duty of care to protect these bats and also to protect would be trespassers from injury by taking all reasonable means to prevent ingress.  Although one might not feel sympathetic to those who take part in wanton vandalism and mindless graffiti the site is very dangerous. Apart from physical danger from collapsing floor structures and falling masonry and other building materials  there are very large quantities of asbestos cement sheeting and other contaminated materials.

Some local people feel that Suttons the current owners are deliberately failing to maintain security at the site as part of putting pressure on locals to approve their application to develop the site (Although their proposal has been approved) and would be pleased to have the rare bat colony go elsewhere as they are obliged to provide for the security of the bats and this is an expensive undertaking.

The almost total lack of security at the site is evidenced by the photographs below that were taken at the end of December 2006.  The site can be accessed from Rosemary Lane both by the gates and beside the river -the latter boundary is the most secure- and also from the field that has a public footpath.

Peradins Warning notice on fence at the Freshford Mill site currently owned by Suttons One of the notices attached to the fencing beside Rosemary Lane by the River Frome section of the site boundary.

This part of the fencing is quite secure but it is possible to gain access to the site by climbing the wall alongside. However, there are easier ways to gain access as can be studied by viewing the other photographs below.

The photographs have been published to quite a high resolution to provide clear indications of where the security of the site needs to be improved. The photographs follow a clockwise circuit of the large site.

There is no evidence of any "Direct Link Alarms" as mentioned in the notice.

Freshford Mill Gates secured with Padlock This photograph is of the present padlock that replaces the two that can be seen on the ground.  The wood battens wired to the base of the gates is meant to stop would be trespassers from getting under the gates. However, further along someone, or something! has dug into the ground, which is soft -not cemented.

The padlock and "chain" looks no better than those it replaces, although it may be harder. But as mentioned above a small grinder could cut through the cable very quickly.

This element of the security of the site is meant to prevent vehicular access rather than pedestrian access.

Apparently when the travellers occupied the site they had their mail delivered and the Post Office was obliged to deliver it to a box that the illegal occupants fixed to the gates! Social security payments?

The padlock has gone see photograph below taken on the 10th January 2007

Freshford Mill (formerly Peridins) gate post showing cut fencing At the gate post the fence which is quite flimsy has been cut through allowing walk in access.
hole in the fencing adjoining field with public right of access: Freshford Mill The fence that forms a boundary with the field has been cut allowing convenient access close to the footpath.

 

asbestos clad b uilding and fallen fencing Freshford Mill adjoining field with public access Further along the boundary adjoining the field a section of the fencing has been pushed down. The building visible on the left is totally clad in asbestos cement sheeting.

 

asbestos clad building Freshford Mill graffiti on cladding Another photograph showing the asbestos cement clad building is a very poor state.

I note that asbestos cement products will not be accepted at local recycling centres and must be taken to Warminster by the disposer after arranging a date and time to visit with the centre. The person(s) disposing of this highly dangerous material must wrap it in plastic sheeting and must themselves be protected against contamination before they will be allowed to dispose of the material.

low stone wall at Freshford Mill no fencing to deter intruders In the same location to the left the wall which is hardly more than a metre high has no fencing behind it and also looks as if it is about to fall down anyway.
Poor security at Freshford Mill boundary adjoining field with public access This photograph shows graffiti and also a broken panel allowing access to one of the numerous buildings on the site.

Access to the roof, which may be dangerous to walk over has been gained by either clambering up from the wall or by making use of the iron girders on the left.

 

easy access for intruders Freshford Mill open window beside field with public access Perhaps the least inconvenient access to the site is by way of the window shown by the tree. This building is adjoining the field by the River Frome.
unsecure window Freshford Mill (formerly Peradins factory) this building adjoins the field that has public access Another view of the same window showing more clearly the removal of the boarding.

These windows were boarded over by wiring 18mm chipboard to the metal frames.  Thiss type of building material is totally unsuitable for stopping access as it it has virtually no impact resistance and  is not meant for external applications.

Like other Peradins buildings the guttering and down pipe is asbestos cement and the former is in a very poor condition.

fencing removed by corner of building Freshford Mill The corner to the left of the photograph of the building above is insecure, fencing having been removed allowing access to a pathway that goes over part of the old millrace which structure is in a very poor condition and is especially dangerous to youngsters who may gain easy access to the site.
stairway with open door to building Freshford Mill site Photograph of the rear stairway that can be accessed from the corner of the building shown above.  The door at the top of the stairs is wide open.
Freshford Mill Gates with no padlock  

Photograph taken on the 10th January 2007 there is no padlock. the string was actually put there by a local so as to protect members of the public from damage from the gates that were open.

At present 6th March travellers have occupied the site and used their own padlock to keep out either other fellow travellers or the authorities. Although they have been served with a notice to quit, under an eviction order, they have not vacated the site.

 

The new owners have moved quickly to get the travellers out. The bailiffs were sent in.  Access to the site is now rather a challenge as the owners have arranged to drop off a couple of large drainage pipe sections and have further weighted them down with aggregate. A sensible solution to this long standing problem.

Photo taken 8th March 2007.

The gap in the fencing by the side of the gate has been effectively closed as well, and new fencing has been installed in the field adjoining the site. It is not clear whether this was paid for by the new owners or was implemented by the owner of the field.

Photographs of Interior Buildings

 


  Return to Home Page                                                                                                               

A web hosted by xyzweb.co.uk

Page last modified: Sunday March 11, 2007