New Ferry group 'hopeful' of blast compensation

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Several buildings collapsed in the 2017 blast

People affected by a blast that destroyed homes and businesses are "hopeful" the government will come up with a plan for financial help.

Two people were seriously hurt and 31 injured in New Ferry, Merseyside on 25 March 2017.

Victims met with communities secretary James Brokenshire on Wednesday.

The government has said the blast did not meet the threshold for its funding of emergency recovery costs which should be covered by local resources.

People who lost their homes and businesses told Mr Brokenshire the government should have done more in the aftermath of the blast and called for financial aid.

Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, said the delegation "did the town proud" and explained "loud and clear" not just the "substantial" financial impact but "most importantly the psychological distress that people have suffered".

"I think it was heard by the secretary of state... we're standing by to hear what he's got to say," she said.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Local politicians have called for government aid

One of the group, Simon Crabtree, said he hoped Mr Brokenshire was "going to go away, re-address it and hopefully come back to us with some sort of plan".

He said he wanted "some sort of compensation for residents and traders".

Pascal Blasio, the owner of a shop on the site, has been charged with causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

Contract Natural Gas Limited, based in Yorkshire, has also been charged with failing to discharge general health and safety duty to a person other than an employee.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "We have asked Homes England to work with Wirral Council on their regeneration plans for New Ferry and will receive regular reports on the progress of this work."

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