Great Yarmouth traders handed £5,000 by Norfolk County Council following Regent Road blaze
- Credit: Mike Page
Traders who lost their livelihood after a blaze in Great Yarmouth have been handed a county council boost.
Norfolk County Council today agreed to contribute £5,000 towards a fund set up by the EDP to help those affected by the devastating fire.
The Regent Superbowl and indoor market were destroyed when flames ripped through the Regent Road buildings in the early hours of August 5.
In the days following the fire, The EDP, the Great Yarmouth Mercury, the Norwich Evening News and Norfolk Community Foundation set up a fund to assist traders who lost their businesses.
At the council's policy and resources committee today, the authority agreed to help - but not without opposition from some councillors.
Cliff Jordan, Conservative leader of Norfolk County Council, said: 'I went down and talked to the businesses. It's a raft of businesses - people not being on the dole, but trying to earn a living.
'It has had a huge social effect in Great Yarmouth. I am not going to turn my back on Yarmouth.'
However, Labour leader George Nobbs was among those who did not support the contribution, warning it could set a precedent.
He said: 'We have to be conscious of how we spend taxpayers' money. 'If we do this, where will we stop? I don't think we will be giving money to every businessman who loses something in a fire.
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'The county council has already made a great contribution to this because we provided the fire brigade which put the fire out.
'The county council's job is not to help some businessman who has lost some stock. I do think this is a risky path to go down.'
But Conservative Barry Stone labelled that 'ungracious', saying there were some 30 businesses affected by the fire.
Labour's Steve Morphew said he was 'conflicted' but was also concerned about the setting of a precedent, while UKIP leader Toby Coke said: 'I think this sets a very dangerous precedent. If we start bailing people out who have hit a rough patch, people will think we're a bottomless pit.'
But Conservative Ian Mackie said: 'I am pleased to support this and say we are behind Great Yarmouth.'
Nine members of the committee voted to contribute to the fund, with one against and seven abstentions.
It took more than 150 firefighters and 29 fire appliances six hours to extinguish the blaze. No-one was injured in the fire.