TODAY marks the first anniversary of a devastating gas explosion that rocked New Ferry.

Twenty five residential properties and four businesses were affected by the blast on Saturday, March 25 last year – which left people homeless and businesses unable to trade.

More than 30 people were injured and taken to Arrowe Park Hospital, Countess of Chester Hospital and Aintree Hospital.

Children were in the Complete Works dance studio just an hour before it was destroyed.

In the year since the disaster, Wirral Council has spent more than £300,000 of its reserves in a bid to help those residents and businesses affected and has drawn up a regeneration plan to rebuild the town.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram also pledged £20,000 while calling on the Government to provide ‘emergency aid’ for those affected.

However, the support first pledged by Prime Minister Theresa May has not been honoured despite multiple calls from Wirral South MP Alison McGovern.

In a statement Ms McGovern said: “Today marks one year since an explosion devastated New Ferry.

“That night will bring back haunting memories for those people who witnessed the impact first-hand and also for the people who have had to deal with the impact ever since.

“I was in New Ferry on the night and the panic and carnage will be something that will stay with me.

“But I will also remember the kindness displayed by people on that night also.

“Given the severity of the situation in the initial aftermath and after meeting with government ministers I was under the impression that they would be able to offer New Ferry help but not long after the explosion a general election was called and the Government halted discussions on New Ferry because of this.

“This obviously came as a frustrating blow to everybody affected by the explosion who were already dealing with so many issues and local residents and traders made their voices heard about how this had left them feeling.

“Following the election discussions resumed with the government but the process still remained quite slow and drawn out and no emergency relief funding was ever forthcoming from the Government despite government minister Jake Berry coming to New Ferry and seeing the damage for himself.

“The council have submitted all the information the government required and the latest situation is that the regeneration plans are with Homes England.

“I have met with Homes England and pressed the urgent need for this rebuild to happen.

“We lost established businesses in the explosion such as Griffiths the local butchers and this has been a sad loss to New Ferry.

“However some of the traders have since moved premises and have continued to be able to trade in the local area.

“I am pleased that these businesses have continued to manage to trade here and they are an important part of our community.

“New Beginnings have just reopened in their new premises and are offering many services to the community.

“New Beginnings now serves as a much needed hub for the community. As you will know they were set up after the explosion to help the community and they have continued their work.

“On this anniversary I want to pay tribute to everybody who was impacted by the explosion.

“It’s been a really difficult year for the community.

“Those who suffered injuries, lost businesses and had to leave their homes have all had a dreadful ordeal to overcome.

“Thank you to those who rallied round and looked after people in New Ferry in the initial aftermath and I want to also give credit to Wirral Council for their work in assisting people.

“New Ferry is in urgent need of regeneration and there are still a lot of empty buildings blighting the town.

“However I do believe that with the determination that has been shown by everybody in New Ferry that we will get there and it will come back from this stronger if we continue to pull together.

“I want you to know that I will do all I can to assist with New Ferry as the town moves forward and that I will continue to fight for our town.”

In January, 56-year-old Pascal Blasio, of Gillingham, Kent was charged with causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

He is due to appear at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on April 4.

Independent gas supplier Contract Natural Gas Limited (CNG) has also been charged with an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to discharge general health/safety duty to a person other than an employee.