A VICTIM of the explosion that devastated parts of New Ferry and Port Sunlight is considering legal action against the council after claiming she has been "unfairly charged" for repair scaffolding outside her home.

Martine Arthur's home in Bebington Road, Port Sunlight was among numerous buildings damaged in the blast on the night of March 25.

She is among householders on Bebington and Boundary Road that have received bills of more than £1,800 each for scaffolding that was put up as part of work to repair the most severely damaged buildings.

Reminders for these bills were also sent before the official due date threatening more charges and debt recovery if not paid on time.

Ms Arthur, whose home was not insured at the time of the blast, has so far self-funded more than £8,000 on repairs, and expects the costs of this to rise, so does not think she should have to pay the bill.

In a statement, the council said it has suspended the payment deadline as it reviews Ms Arthur's complaint.

The 45-year-old, an occupational therapist who is originally from Aberdeen, told the Globe: "I've been unfairly charged for the scaffolding that was put up, especially from July 15 as my roofing, windows and doors had been repaired by then and therefore there was no need for scaffolding outside my property from this time.

"I have written to the council outlining this and they still intend to charge me.

"The scaffolding was put up as part of the repair process and the security and cordon are apparently all for public safety.

"But it's got nothing to with householders' safety.

"I didn't give any consent to scaffolding being put up outside my home, so do not understand how the council can legally charge me for this.

"Apparently, the scaffolding was needed during the initial few weeks as council needed access to check the extent of the damage and to board up windows and secure doors, however, after this time it was ascertained that the houses were structurally sound and while some risk of falling slates may have been possible, the scaffolding was unlikely to prevent slates falling as there are holes on the walking boarding that would allow slates through anyway.

"I feel that the scaffolding should have been removed and replaced when the roofing repairs were due to be commenced, especially in my case as I was arranging my part of the roof to be repaired separately to the adjoining houses.

"It has been eight months since the blast, and the works on repairing the neighbours roofing have only just been started in November.

"I feel the scaffolding was most likely not removed as it was more convenient and less costly for the council to remove and then replace it when it was needed.

"This has been and continues to be a very stressful experience and more large bills that I dont feel are fair are exacerbating this.

A council spokesperson said: "The scaffolding was put up to support a block of properties damaged by the New Ferry explosion.

"It allowed us to ensure residents could safely access their properties at the earliest opportunity in order to recover personal belongings and also meant specialists were able to safely get into the buildings to assess the scale of damage and advise on repairs.

"We've always been clear with residents during the positive meetings that we have had with them that the costs for this element of work would have to be met by owners of the land or property, through their insurance companies.

"However, we will look into the issues raised in Ms Arthur's complaint and consider her individual circumstances and while we do so we have suspended any payment deadline and no further interest will accrue on the amount owed."