Why has Wirral Council agreed to write to the government asking for money and for the government to meet people affected by the New Ferry explosion?
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Usually the press outnumber the public in the public gallery above the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall.
Monday evening’s meeting of Wirral Council’s councillors was different as many people (see photo above) with connections to New Ferry had turned up to listen to the debate on the notice of motion about New Ferry following the explosion earlier this year.
After around two hours of waiting, councillors rearranged the agenda so that the Support for New Ferry motion was heard first (rather than fourth). This motion was proposed by Cllr Warren Ward and seconded by Cllr Phil Davies.
A large explosion in New Ferry happened on Saturday 25 March. Many buildings in the area had to be evacuated because of structural damage (these were buildings used for both residential and business purposes), roads were closed and at least one person injured ended up in hospital. Cllr Warren Ward’s notice of motion asked for Wirral Council to write to the national government to intervene and to help.
Councillor Phil Davies (Leader) estimated that Wirral Council’s costs so far in dealing with the aftermath as around £300,000.
Cllr Warren Ward (Bromborough) criticised the government for sending a minister to visit the area some time after it happened.
He singled out a government minister for further criticism, stating that the minister had said in a local radio interview that the government had been supporting Wirral Council since day one of the explosion. Cllr Ward described this as a “kick in the teeth to all those residents affected crying out for government support only to receive nothing”.
Councillor Warren Ward thanked the “phenomenal emergency services”, “[Wirral] Council officers” and “community members”. He referred to the community members as “picking up the burden”.
He explained that Wirral Council employees had been working “15 hour days” at a cost of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” asking, “why isn’t the government playing its role in supporting the residents affected by the New Ferry disaster?”
At the end of his speech he received nearly thirty seconds of applause and a standing ovation.
He described meetings of residents he had attended and the impact and distress the disaster had had on them. Cllr Sykes described people who had lost everything and how others had no insurance and how people were “looking for answers”.
His speech covered the cause of the blast and resident’s fears that it could happen again. Wirral Council employees were once again thanked and the community for their “hard work”. Describing Cllr Warren Ward as an “outstanding exam