LETTER: Doing all we can to help arson attack traders

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I WISH to comment on the article in last week’s Express about the fire damaged businesses in Plumbe Street.

I was myself the owner of a small business in Burnley for many years and can fully understand the frustration, anger and sheer desperation the traders must be feeling as they see years of hard work destroyed by a malicious arson attack. I have personally visited the affected traders on several occasions to offer my full support. The scandal of the situation is that these people have paid insurance premiums for years in good faith and deserve better than this. Business people pay insurance so that if ever a situation like this occurs they and their businesses are protected.

It is absolutely disgraceful that, nearly 12 months on, the insurance companies have not paid for the necessary demolition work to be done. Of course I am concerned about Burnley’s image but I am more concerned about the distress caused to the honest decent traders involved.

They are suffering a loss of business income through no fault of their own. From the outset council officers in Building Control, Planning and the Legal department have done their utmost to help the property owners achieve a resolution.

Given that these are privately-owned and privately-insured properties, Burnley Council has done everything it is legally able to do and more besides and I can assure all concerned we will continue to give as much help as possible.

Coun. Julie Cooper

Leader of Burnley Council