A DANCE group that caters for hundreds of young people has been locked out of their studio after years of issues with the building and landlord.

Launching as a contemporary dance class in 2015, WigLe Dance has grown to provide opportunities for hundreds of young people over the past nine years, including a variety of dance sessions, school programmes and half-term clubs, and festivals and competitions.

It is a much-loved club that boasts a range of state-of-the-art equipment, but ongoing issues such as a leaking roof have made the Railway Road hub "completely unsafe" for the dancers.

After rent was unpaid due to the ongoing problems, the group say they were locked out of their studio with "no notice and no communication" last week, with dozens of children and parents left confused and cold while stranded in the street.

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Leigh Journal: The group has spent thousands on state-of-the-art facilitiesThe group has spent thousands on state-of-the-art facilities (Image: WigLe Dance)
Amy Burdon, who formed WigLe back in 2015, said: "This has been an ongoing problem [at the studio] for the past four years, but it has come to a head recently as the roof has got worse and worse.

"The studio is completely unsafe for us to use but the landlord has refused to get the work done and has stopped replying to my messages.

"We were only using the studio as a meeting place for kids clubs and those on free school meals over the Christmas break, but found that the landlord had locked us out with no notice and no communication.

"There are thousands of pounds worth of equipment in the studio, and all the kids and parents were left waiting on the street, so it has been a horrendous time."

Leigh Journal: The studio has increasingly deteriorated on Railway RoadThe studio has increasingly deteriorated on Railway Road (Image: WigLe Dance)
Although structural problems have persisted for several years at the Railway Road unit, Amy said it has been difficult to resolve as the building is owned by a private landlord and communication has been sparse.

The recent dilemma has caused a massive headache for WigLe leaders, but parents and local councillors have given the group their full support as they try to get the problems resolved or look for a new home.

Leigh Journal: The roof has leaked for months at the studioThe roof has leaked for months at the studio (Image: WigLe Dance)
Amy, who is from Leigh, added: "It's been devastating really because our studio is a real happy place for our kids, and many of them come early to spend time here.

"We make the group as accessible, affordable, and inclusive as possible and we do a lot for culture in the community as we also run the Wigan Borough dance festival and direct the Light Night parade.

"The council and parents have been really supportive so we're just hoping to get this resolved as soon as possible or find somewhere else for the kids."

Leigh Journal: Families were left stranded in the cold after the studio was locked by the landlordFamilies were left stranded in the cold after the studio was locked by the landlord (Image: Cllr Sam Brown)
Speaking about the issue concerning WigLe Dance, Leigh West councillor Samantha Brown said: "My main concern as a councillor and parent of a child who uses this local group is the impact it has had, firstly on the children who benefit so much from the sense of togetherness Amy's group brings, but also the impact on parents who have been left high and dry with their own arrangements thanks to this heartless decision from a distant landlord.

"WigLe is an integral part of the local community, providing such a great service for children. They have provided holiday groups that help so much when parents would otherwise be having to make other, much more expensive arrangements, it really is a vital cog in the community.

"It's barely possible to put a number on the sheer amount of children who have become part of the WigLe family throughout the last ten years as there been so many, this landlord cannot possibly understand how much it means to the people who attend there."

Leigh Journal: The dance group has organised classes, school programmes, festivals and competitionsThe dance group has organised classes, school programmes, festivals and competitions (Image: WigLe Dance)

A spokesperson for the landlord, Ms Properties, said: "There are building works scheduled, details of which were communicated to the tenant.

"We remain open to discussing all future options."