Community unites to help victims of Great Yarmouth fire
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
Meetings have been taking place to discuss what happens next for those affected by Friday's fire in Great Yarmouth.
The owner of the Regent Superbowl and indoor market, as well as its traders, have been left reeling by the devastating blaze which destroyed the historic building.Great Yarmouth borough councillors have been discussing potential sites where traders can move to on a temporary basis.And traders yesterday met to discuss ways they could raise money to help their families, while they wait to learn where their future lies.Many suggestions have been raised for potential sites, including Victoria Arcade, where there are 15 empty units and the recently vacated BHS store.Penny Carpenter, deputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: 'We are looking at potential premises and speaking to estate agents to try to find somewhere for the traders to go as quickly as possible. BHS was a suggestion, but for that to happen we would need to get permission from their liquidators.'We are working all hours and as hard as we can to quickly find a solution.'The council has thanked emergency services, staff and others who have been working following the seven-hour blaze. Over the past three days workers have been clearing rubble and asbestos and securing dozens of broken windows.They have also been dismantling the structure from the top for safety reasons and to minimise disruption to surrounding businesses. In a statement, the council said its immediate priorities were public safety and supporting the affected businesses.Phil Thompson, who owns the bowling alley and indoor market, said: 'When I look at the building I feel sick.'They are now with buckets outside the facility collecting a few quid to help out their families. But more importantly they're down here because we're like a family.'This is where they come every day – some of them for 30 years.'Mark Reason, who owned the Marshell's café, said: 'It was more than just my business. It was run by my granddad, then mum and dad and then passed on to me and my wife.'Just last year we spent £20,000 in refurbishments and now, little less than a year later, this happens.'I have never worked for anybody else. I have always been in this café and I would find it a struggle now to start applying for jobs as I don't want to start working for anyone now.'But we are now all collecting funds to make sure food is put on the table.'Most of the traders affected in the fire are believed to be uninsured.There had been speculation that they were unable to do so because of the building's fire regulations but Mr Thompson said this was not thecase.He said: 'There were traders such as those at the café that were insured. 'The building didn't need a sprinkler system; nobody ever had any problems that there was not a sprinkler system. It was all up to spec.'Fire investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, but it is not believed to be suspicious.Traders look to raise money to keep them goingTraders who lost their businesses in Friday's fire have started up a fund to assist their living costs.The traders from the indoor market met up yesterday morning to discuss if they could raise enough money to keep them going during this barren spell of no income.The fire comes at the worst time of year for them, with the summer holidays being their biggest source of profit.Aden Rooney, who owned the Hook, Line and Sinker stall inside the indoor market place with his brothers, Liam and Callum, was yesterday outside the cordoned-off building with a bucket to collect funds.He said: 'We have got to put food on the tables and some of these traders have got mortgages to pay.'It is going to be a tough time for us, no question about it. I am now looking to see if I can get any temporary work elsewhere but at this stage in the summer a lot of the seasonal work has already been filled.'We would be really thankful for anyone who could assist us at this time.'Yesterday, traders from the market place took turns to collect bucket donations outside the cordoned-off remains of their former workplace.Meanwhile, donations continue to flood in for an appeal to help victims of the Great Yarmouth fire.It was launched by the EDP, Great Yarmouth Mercury, Norwich Evening News and Norfolk Community Foundation following the blaze.
The appeal is to provide a 'fighting fund' to help those with desperate needs as soon as possible. Applications to the EDP/Great Yarmouth Mercury fund will be discussed on a case by case basis. More than £5,000 has already been raised.
Decisions will be made in partnership between the EDP/GYM, NCF and officers of Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The email for the appeal is email@example.com
Hope for building to be back up by summer 2017
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The owner of the Regent Superbowl and indoor market is calling for council help to get the site rebuilt and to assist traders.
Phil Thompson was devastated by the blaze which destroyed the building, but is hoping to get it rebuilt for the 2017 summer season.
Mr Thompson, who has owned the market for four years, said: 'I have got the building insured but it could be around £1m to clear the site – I don't know if my insurance is going to be enough.
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'I would like a bigger and better site rebuilt in 12 months but I would require help. I need that help for the good of the town and the traders that have been affected. I am hopeful we will get some news about a new unit for the traders to operate from soon as it is the worst time of year for this to happen to them.'