Businesses critical of Ray Mill owner’s silence in wake of fire

BUSINESS owners are incensed and frustrated by the wall of silence that has followed the blaze that destroyed their home at Ray Mill, Stalybridge.

They claim telephone calls and emails to landlords Warmco Properties have gone unanswered as they set about trying to rebuild their livelihoods.


Ray Mill, Stalybridge

Firms allege they have been abandoned by Warmco and had no contact with them since the blaze that left the mill is unrepairable and currently undergoing demolition.

Manchester Spray Finish and Media City Furniture have both been trying to find insurance details, something Steve Cotterill, a private individual, has also been trying to do for the lock-up unit he rented at the Mill to store motor bikes and other household items.

Christopher Moss, from Manchester Spray Finish, said: “I have contacted Warmco requesting copies of their insurance and for the fire report.

“I am emailing and telephoning them constantly, but they have not come back to me.”

That was concurred by the owner of Media City Furniture, who did not want to be named, and also Mr Cotterill.

The Correspondent was also met with a wall of silence when contacting Warmco’s Matthew Scott who we were told was responsible for Ray Mill. Telephone calls to his landline and mobile went unanswered as did an email.

The paper was also given the number for Joe Howard who we were informed is the owner of the mill.

Mr Howard answered a call, but did not want to comment and, when asked a second question, replied “thank you for your interest” before hanging up. He did not reply to further calls and messages.

Manchester Spray Finish and Universal Garments International have both been relocated by Tameside Council on to Dukinfield’s Globe Industrial Estate.


Ray Mill is being demolished leaving lots of business owners out of pocket

Mr Moss is grateful for the help he has received, explaining: “The council has given me three months free rent which will help me get back on my feet.

“Friends have lent me money and customers have helped me and I have survived by the skin of my teeth as I lost everything.”

The owner of Media City Furniture, that provides props for television, film and photographic companies, lost all his stock.

He was critical of Warmco Properties and Tameside Council saying neither had helped him as his search for new premises was still ongoing at the time the Correspondent went to press.

Mr Cotterill has also been unable to make contact with the mill owners after losing off-road motorbikes belong to his sons and himself as well as other household items worth around £4,000 in total.

He said: “I had a garage-sized room in the mill to store things I hadn’t room at home for.

“Mine is not business related and my claim is minimal compared to others who have lost their businesses and livelihoods.

“I was a small fry in the big mill, but my wife and children were in tears and were traumatised as they lost personal things, some that cannot be replaced.”

Dance group TCA Tycoons have found temporary accommodation at Silver Springs Academy, Stalybridge, and All Saints Catholic College, Dukinfield.

Their appeal for help has raised more than £5,000 towards the equipment they lost.

“Everyone has been amazing from local businesses to the cheer community,” explained dance coach Vanessa Murphy-Wood.

Greater Manchester Fire Service have concluded their report which says the cause of the blaze is “undetermined” and they have handed over the incident to Greater Manchester Police.

A spokesman for GMP added the blaze is no longer being investigated as “deliberate ignition”.

Ian Saxon, Tameside Council’s director operations and neighbourhoods confirmed, the mill owner is responsible for the cost of demolition as the building belonged to them.

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “Work is continuing on the demolition of Ray Mill in Stalybridge after the extensive fire.

“The sheer devastation caused by the fire has rendered the structure extremely precarious and the demolition team is working with extreme care and caution to prevent any uncontrolled collapse – the only way to approach such a dangerous building.

“Road closures will remain in place for the duration of the work.

“While it’s difficult to estimate how long this will take, it’s expected to be around another four weeks before both Clarence Street and Tame Street are open.

“Both the mill owner and contractor are keen to get the area open again within a reasonable timescale, however safety must always come first.”

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