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Abandoned Half-Built Structure A 'Tragedy Waiting To Happen'

Tuesday August 27 2013


Asa Foster's photograph from City Reach Asa Foster's photograph from City Reach


AN abandoned, half-built bulding on the edge of the town centre is a tragedy waiting to happen according to a photographer who scaled its heights.

The warning comes from Asa Foster - whose spectacular photo was featured on We Are Barnsley last week - after he climbed the 'City Reach' building on Heelis Street.

Asa, 28, said he scaled the concrete ‘skeleton’ because he wanted to take a photograph of the town from high up - but was shocked at what he found inside.

The structure, which has stood untouched for more than four years, is strewn with needles and is being used by people taking drugs and drinking.

He fears the potentially dangerous state of the structure - which has no external walls, no barriers, no lighting and holes in some of the floors - means it's only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or even killed there.

"It's a death trap," Asa said. "I was sober and very, very careful as I walked up there, but anyone drinking or taking drugs could so easily slip and fall.

"There's no security and it's obvious from the debris strewn around the place that a lot of people are going in there who would not be too steady on their feet.

"If you have a building in that state being used by people taking drugs and drinking then that’s a recipe for a tragedy. I really was appalled to see how many people are obviously going there because that is very, very dangerous."

Local residents and shoppers have complained about drug users gathering in the building and the police have been called to several incidents there to remove people from the building.

The land was originally bought for £1.8million in June 2007 by Leeds-based developer Bob Mark and a company called Industrial and Corporate Finance Limited was going to fund its £9million development.

The building was supposed to have 10,000 sq ft of retail space on the ground floor with 86 apartments above.

Work started in October 2007, but stopped the following year as the recession bit. It's understood a potential new owner is in discussions to buy the land and structure.

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Reply Posted by Guesty Mcguest on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 10:13
Asa should be arrested, he broke into the site, the area has been secured by hoardings and warnings placed all around the site. He disregarded this to get his shot and then complained.

Reply Posted by nobby on Thursday August 29 2013 at 10:20
Oooh Asa should be arrested because I'm a whining jobsworth who can't appreciate a great photograph of the town.

Reply Posted by max on Thursday August 29 2013 at 13:54
that's the silliest comment I've read in a long time lol...

Reply Posted by LV on Thursday August 29 2013 at 19:47
Guesty has a point - he was trespassing, yes it's a lovely photo, but then he says it's a death trap? It's technically a building site and ought to be secure, any unauthorised access is classed as trespassing and therefore any injury caused by unlawfully accessing this site should be the liability of the person who thought it would be a good idea, i.e. if Asa had fallen and severely injured himself it would be himself to blame for going in there. The druggies who have left their hypodermic filth strewn about were also trespassing. If he is concerned about the safety of the structure he should have notified correct authorities who may not have been aware the security of the site was compromised.

Reply Posted by mrx on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 10:24
I agree also if the druggies or drunks fall there fault really breaking entry

Reply Posted by Craig on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 13:16
Druggies falling is not a problem its a good thing.. i say open it up to them.

Reply Posted by Dave on Sunday September 1 2013 at 10:29
I agree with Craig entirely. The more the merrier I say. I'm sick of the do gooders brigade saying that these addicts have an illness. NO THEY HAVEN'T. What they do have is choice. Cancer and other serious conditions ARE illnesses and the people who suffer from these awful conditions aren't as fortunate as those addicts, they don't have a choice and they didn't ask for it in the first place. So yes open it up to them and lock them in there.

Reply Posted by guester on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 10:47
There was no need for him to break into the site, the gate has been wide open for months and that's how everyone else has been getting in! Plus he never complained to anyone, he was approached by the newspapers after they'd seen the picture on the internet and started asking questions. So get your facts right before making such statements

Reply Posted by Guesty Mcguest on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 14:14
The fact is he was trespassing on a building sites with signs all around that say do not enter. The fact that the gate was open is not an invitation just to walk in.

Also quote
"If you have a building in that state being used by people taking drugs and drinking then that’s a recipe for a tragedy. I really was appalled to see how many people are obviously going there because that is very, very dangerous."

So he was complaining to the papers.

Reply Posted by guester on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 21:17
Is there actually any sign there to say do not enter, as we certainly didn't see any... We knew the risks we took, but it was all at our own risk, not harming anyone else, nor damaging anything in the process. There has been many people go up there before for the same reasons we did, and im sure there will be people in the future, its just how it goes...

The only words Asa actually said to the papers were "the place is a s**thole, its full of needles" But that dosent make a good story does it!! And having spoken to Asa, he is going to put a complaint in to the Chronicle as they have made him out to be something he isnt.

The picture was put on facebook, as he was proud of it, being his first shot! Its the rest of the people like the chronicle that have brought it up and warned everyone that its open and dangerous.

Reply Posted by max on Thursday August 29 2013 at 13:57
where does it say he broke into the place, or have a misread?

Reply Posted by Mick on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 13:15
Anyone going onto the site is trespassing, so this isn't really a story. Keep out of other people's property & land and you won't get hurt.

Reply Posted by king louis on Wednesday August 28 2013 at 08:06
trespass is a hard crime to win on court, even if there was a sign saying "do not enter" (which there isn't) the fact the gate is wide open shows a certain disregard for their intentions of keeping people out. The gate being open for months only weakens any case against anyone roaming onto the site. Watch how much law is required to move travelers on when they find an open gate. Its the same law for all of us!

Reply Posted by steve on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 14:34
The fact that the building can be scaled from inside to the top publicised in the media and on social media sites is a stupid thing to do .... how many people will now go and have a go at it .....stupid idea

Reply Posted by Stevo on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 19:38
Went up to Joseph Locke house the other day and the rear of former bingo hall was full of smackrats openly chasing the dragon. Walked further round the corner and an alcho was passed out on the floor with a crowd round him.

Reply Posted by Mystery on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 21:24
Addaction must be working well then. An organisation helping people with drug/drink problems based on John St car park less than 100yds from where all this is going on. Its not just smack heads going in that building site. I've seen and heard kids playing in there. As stated the gates were open until the past few days. Its now been secured for the time being. It should be pulled down before someone dies. Its a right eyesore which can be seen from all over town.

Reply Posted by Stevo on Wednesday August 28 2013 at 15:38
More like 20 yards isn't it?

Has to be said I wouldn't like to live in an area so close to a centre that is dedicated to people who have drink and drug problems.

I'm not making light of their addictions either, I am merely voicing an opinion.

I'm still gobsmacked at what I saw that's all.

Reply Posted by ? on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 22:40
Am just NOT interested as long has it doesn't affect my family or friends. And good bye to the druggies ... Towns full of em

Reply Posted by Simon Walsh on Wednesday August 28 2013 at 11:22
Where is the Health and Safety Executive? Leaving a site insecure and dangerous is a criminal offence.

Reply Posted by Rm on Thursday August 29 2013 at 08:39
Still love the piccy though wherever it was taken from :)

Reply Posted by me on Thursday August 29 2013 at 08:55
Iys an ibsafe buildjng which has just been left to be abused by druggies and god knows what. Its a accident waiting to happen and althouhh it shouldnt be bmbc's responsibility to make safe it should be the builders. But bmbc need to pull there finger art and enforce this or knock the building down

Reply Posted by gary on Thursday August 29 2013 at 09:39
well its not near the re furbished town hall and the posher end of town so itl be left to rack and ruin

Reply Posted by tina on Thursday August 29 2013 at 10:31
do u think securing the gate will stop the smack rats??? they will go n find some other building thats making Barnsley look like a S**t tip to go into and slowly kill themselves, the steps infront of the old bingo hall are the new gathering hole i wonder how long (if it hasnt happened already) before they go into the bingo hall. every town in the country have problems with smack rats and nothing can be done about it..
beautiful picture by the way

Reply Posted by maxine on Thursday August 29 2013 at 13:58
wow great picture! I hope this means that Barnsley will now have at least ONE interesting post card!! :)

Reply Posted by observer on Thursday August 29 2013 at 15:48
at the end of the day. it is a building site. at one time they put no signs up. or barriers. or whatever. you just didnt go in.

Reply Posted by Inneedof Breezeblocks on Saturday August 31 2013 at 21:12
So if its abandoned, would it be theft if I took the breeze block that's left there?

Reply Posted by Agree on Saturday August 31 2013 at 21:31
I agree its terrible round there, I used to take a short cut near there but after seeing lots of druggies and even being approached by them I walk the long way round now.

Reply Posted by Just me! on Saturday August 31 2013 at 21:44
It's an eyesore that should be made more safe! This is in an area that houses a lot of elderly people, drunks and druggies are making this area unsafe for them to leave their homes!!!! And what happens if its kids that get in there falling from the heights of the structure or falling on a used needle???? You won't be complaining about someone pointing out the obvious then!!!! I say we'll done to the man, maybe now something will be done to make it more safe!!!!!!

Reply Posted by Swifty on Saturday August 31 2013 at 23:57
The council have a policy that everything it owns or land wants to sell including buildings like Wombwell Highfield Grange unit. That only three weeks ago in the Chronicle said they was going to auction. Seven days later this magnificent 10 year old purpose built NHS support for elderley patients that need extra help for Hospitial life to return to home. The BMBC planning department have placed a notice to confirm demolition of the site in October 2013. How How How.

My point why carnt this eye sore be reclaimed by the council , flattened all the rubble can be recycled.

and before the council says it Carnt be done. 20 years ago they chucked the Howard Brothers out of there home only a mile away from this site.

After the eyesore has gone the serious investors may put money in to Barnsley.

Reply Posted by LB on Sunday September 1 2013 at 06:24
I'm more shocked how many heartless people there seem to be in barnsley and how many just seem to sit back and judge people and want them to die, the buildings an eyesore and if its so dangerous something should be done! Probably a good thing it's come to light, may stop something potentially fatal happening to someone (but only matters if its a non druggie of course) if a child went up there and got killed would you say "it's their fault for trespassing?"