REDEVELOPMENT on the site of an explosion that devastated part of New Ferry is set to start next week.

The remaining concrete floor slab and foundations of what was 41-43 Bebington Road - buildings that were demolished following the explosion - will be removed during the work, which begins on Monday.

The site was the location of the major gas explosion on March 25, 2017.

It destroyed homes and businesses, leaving locals in a state of shock.

It was so severe that some had to live in temporary accommodation for as long as two years.

In total the explosion injured 81 people, forced 83 residents to leave their homes and 32 businesses to close.

Furniture shop owner Pascal Blasio was jailed for 20 years in October after being found unanimously guilty of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property and fraud involving an insurance claim he made after the blast.

Once the explosion site is cleared it will be levelled so it can be used by the local community including for events until the land is redeveloped in the future.

The work is expected to take four weeks.

A council spokesperson said the authority has worked closely with the community on a regeneration plan for the town centre and will be seeking to appoint a development partner later in the year.

Almost £1.3m has been set aside by the council to buy key sites in the town centre as part of the development of a masterplan for its regeneration, and in addition to the £400,000 the local authority had already spent on recovery efforts.

Last year Wirral Council made £200,000 available for those most affected by the explosion, as well as bidding to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for cash to help the town centre.

Leader of the council, Cllr Pat Hackett, said: "New Ferry has been a major priority for this Council and I'm pleased to see more steps forward on the redevelopment of the town centre.

"We have ambitious plans for the town and I’m pleased that residents, business owners and visitors to New Ferry will be seeing changes there."

Recently the local authority applied to the Government’s Future High Streets fund to support regeneration in New Ferry and is expecting a decision on its application early in the autumn.