A ST HELENS MP has called for a clear plan for the rebuild of a row of shops that were destroyed by fire.

A devastating blaze tore through the businesses at Wythburn Crescent, Carr Mill on Wednesday night and through the early hours on Thursday morning.

The Thrifty’s general store - and a post office branch that was within it - were destroyed along with a hairdressers and two takeaways.

Police believe the fire started after a burglary.

Conor McGinn, the St Helens North MP, attended an emergency meeting at the site on Friday.

He says housing association Torus, which owns the shopping parade, has confirmed it will be demolished.

The MP says a clear plan is needed for their rebuild and he is also pushing for the location of a mobile post office to support the many elderly residents living nearby.

Mr McGinn said: “These businesses were a real community hub, providing essential services to local residents.

“Along with the Cllr Derek Long, the leader of St Helens Council, I called an emergency site meeting with councillors, Torus Housing, the police and local residents and employees of the affected businesses.”

The MP said they discussed how, working together, the organisations “will support local residents, the shop owners and the 30 staff employed at the site in the weeks and months ahead”.

Mr McGinn says he has been struck by the determination shown by residents to pull together and support those most affected.

He added: “It is a tight-knit community and the shops were an important part of it, particularly for the many older people who live in the area.

“Making sure they are up and running again as soon as possible is vital. 

“Torus have confirmed to me that the buildings will need to be demolished.

“I have asked for this to be done urgently and for extra police resources to be put in the community to prevent any vandalism and for the site to be properly secured.

“I have also contacted the Post Office seeking assurances that facilities in the area - at least a mobile post office until we are able to reopen a permanent one - will be available as soon as possible.

“I will also want a clear plan from Torus - the owner of the building - about the plans and timescale for the rebuild.

“Residents groups working with local councillors will also be organising a meeting with further information in due course.

”In the meantime, residents and anyone affected by the fire can contact my office and we will do our best to help provide any information we have or help we can give.”