RESIDENTS were evacuated and a road was closed after a former church and ex-servicemen's club in Old Trafford collapsed last week.

The emergency services, as well as representatives from Trafford Council, were called to Shrewsbury Street at around 6.45am on Friday.

They arrived to see the roof of what was once the Moss Side Unitarian Free Church, then a Polish Ex-Servicemen's Club, had collapsed.

Residents were evacuated and Shrewsbury Street was closed between Ayres Road and Upper Chorlton Road while the historic building, which has been unused for around 15 years, was secured.

On Friday, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: "At around 6.45am, we received reports a roof had collapsed on Shrewsbury Street. Engines from Moss Side, Salford, Stretford and Wythenshawe fire stations and a technical rescue unit and a special response vehicle from Ashton-under-Lyne attended the scene.

"Residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure," they added.

At the start of this week, a spokesperson for Trafford Council revealed one household was still in alternative accommodation.

They were unable to tell The Messenger the fate of the former church and ex-servicemen's club, saying this is up to its owner.

They said: "Due to ongoing work, one household is continuing to be accommodated elsewhere by their landlord. It is expected that the work will be completed within a week.

"The building’s owner has appointed their own structural engineer and plans for the future of the building lie with the owner."

The Moss Side Unitarian Free Church opened at the turn of the 20th century and served the area until the end of the Second World War.

After the Second World War, when there was surge of servicemen and families from Poland who did not want to return to their homeland under communism, it became a Polish Ex-Servicemen's Club.

The club lasted until the 2000s, when it closed partially, then totally.

In late 2020, an application for approval to demolish the building without planning permission was refused, with Trafford Council insisting planning permission was needed.

A report by the planning officer who recommended the application for refusal provided the latest insight into the condition of the building.

They said it was uninhabitable due to the risk of asbestosis and histoplasmosis – a disease caused by a fungus found in bird droppings.

They added: "Further to these health concerns, the building had numerous broken windows, vegetation growing out of the roof and it appeared to be in a run-down condition.

"It appears minimum, if any, measures have been taken to retain the building in a habitable, safe form."