On Sunday (25th March) it was a year to the day since a devastating explosion rocked the small Wirral town of New Ferry. A year on, nothing much seems to have changed. The government seems to be constantly forgetting about people who have had their lives ripped apart by one devastating event or another, the New Ferry Explosion is just one of many tragic events to rock not only the local community, but the entire country.
One of the first prominent figures to voice concerns over the explosion, and one who still voices concerns is Labour MP for Wirral South, Alison McGovern, whose constituency covers New Ferry. In 2017, the day after the explosion happened, she stated that the explosion will have devastating consequences for residents and local businesses.
In July 2017, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council unanimously agreed to write to the government to ask for central government funding to help the worst hit areas of the town centre. To add insult to injury, the Conservative minister for Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, told the council that ‘It was government policy not to provide assistance for disasters the size and the impact of New Ferry.’ This same minister wrote to Alison McGovern in March 2018, but stated that The Wirral was in Greater Manchester.
A local councillor in New Ferry, Labour’s Warren Ward, said the following shortly before the first anniversary this week: ‘I will be proposing at the next Town Team meeting that we initiate some emergency funding out of our small pot of remaining funds, £15,000 to provide the high street with the marketing and face lift it desperately needs.’
The Town Team in New Ferry are facing similar challenges to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, as they are dipping into their only remaining funds, it will not be long before their own finds run out.
To date, the current bill for the recovery work stands at around £350,000, and it is still set to rise even further. With no help from central government, how much longer can the Borough council reach into their reserves before the cash in the reserves fund run out?
And, in the same vein: as development continue to stall, and cash continues to run out from several sources, how much longer will it be before the businesses and residents and businesses of New Ferry can return to normal?