A Burnley couple who own one of the town’s longest-running family businesses say they have had to pay out £22,000 of their own money exactly two years after an arson attack ripped through a row of shops.
Mr and Mrs Eric and Pam Marshall, owners of New Way Dry Cleaners and Laundrette, in Temple Street, say they feel they have nowhere to turn after the fire at a takeaway at the junction with Plumbe Street in 2012.
They have been paid out for the fire and water damage but the insurance company has refused to cover the £18,000 to repair the foundations of a gable end wall.
The couple, who have been running the business for 37 years, said they have also had to pay £2,500 out of their own pockets for structural engineers and a further £2,000 for roof and other repairs.
Mrs Marshall (71) said their ordeal had had a significant impact on their wellbeing, especially that of her 74-year-old husband. Their insurance premiums have also trebled from £2,000 a year to £6,000.
“It’s affecting us personally big time, especially Eric.
“It’s driving us mad, we feel like we are getting nowhere and don’t have any support. It isn’t our fault there was a fire, we didn’t do it, yet it’s us who are paying the price. The person who did this is probably being well looked after in a detention centre.”
Some of the adjoining buildings, which were not insured, have now been demolished but the demolition highlighted damage to the wall of the laundrette.
Mr Marshall added: “We were advised to rebuild the wall because the foundations had been undermined and it could’ve collapsed in bad weather. We now need to waterproof it before next winter.”
The couple are now seeking help from Burnley MP Mr Gordon Birtwistle in a bid to try and recoup some of their money.
“Obviously we’d want to be retiring soon but this has made it very difficult,” added Mrs Marshall.
Mr Birtwistle said the situation faced by Mr and Mrs Marshall was terrible and outrageous.
“The building was set on fire and someone has been convicted of that but the point is that through no fault of their own they have ended up spending more than £20,000 shoring up their own building because the owners of the building next door were not insured.
“It is outrageous. The people who own the building next door should make a contribition to New Way. It is a nightmare.
“They’ve had to pay that money so the building doesn’t fall down.
“It’s a terrible situation for them to be in.”