Cllr Penny Carpenter, the deputy council leader, said: “Since Friday’s fire a lot of hard work has taken place to support the recovery, both at the site and behind the scenes, by teams with the borough council, the property owner Mr Thompson, the emergency services and others.
“Public safety remains the borough council’s top priority and council officers have been working closely with Mr Thompson to help him meet his responsibilities as private property owner, ensuring the public risk remains low until the site is demolished and cleared.
“Tomorrow (Friday), a contractor for Mr Thompson will take over from the fire service the responsibility for damping down the rubble. On Monday, the contractor will start work to install hoardings around the site to further improve security.
“To enable the hoardings to be installed, the contractor will today put in place its own metal fencing, which will be removed once the new hoardings are installed. Both the new metal fencing and the hoardings will be located much closer to the site of the original building, making it much easier for residents and visitors to pass along Regent Road.
“The borough council would like demolition and clearance to start as soon as possible and we ask for the public’s patience.
“To help the affected Regent Road traders, the council held a very positive drop-in session today to get a better idea of their needs and discuss potential support. More than 20 traders attended and we had some very useful feedback about what practical help was required. A number of organisations and services were on hand to discuss support, including the Jobcentre, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Greater Yarmouth Tourism & Business Improvement Area and the council’s own teams. This drop-in was arranged at short notice and it was clear from speaking with some of the affected traders that the help and guidance was most appreciated.
“On top of the £2,000 already donated by the council to the EDP appeal, the council is investigating the possibility of a pro rata business rate relief for some 40 to 50 businesses which were unable to trade as a result of the fire on Friday and over the weekend. Those businesses which are no longer able to trade had already been removed from the business rate system.
“In terms of alternative trading locations, traders identified that a number of locations suggested by the council might be suitable, although further investigation is needed. The council is facilitating meetings between private landlords and traders to help take this forward.
“The council encourages any affected businesses looking to secure their own alternative premises to speak with enterpriseGY, the council’s business support service, which can provide advice on setting up in a new premises.
“Several of the traders are telling us that they would struggle with the upfront costs of buying new fixtures and fittings. If you have spares which you could donate, please let enterpriseGY know the details as soon as possible on the number below. The council has already been contacted by Ray Linge Market Stalls, based in Essex, which has offered the free loan of a number of stalls for indoor or outdoor use.
“Any affected Regent Road traders who were not able to attend the drop-in meeting are still welcome to contact enterpriseGY for support and guidance on its emergency line – 01493 846431.
“The Greater Yarmouth Tourism & Business Improvement Area has agreed to set up an area on its website for the affected traders to help keep them updated.”