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Norwich businessman hopes to rise again from the ashes after fire damages workshop

PUBLISHED: 11:20 15 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:20 15 April 2013

Firefighters at the Gurney Road property in Costessey where fire destroyed outbuildings of two neighbouring properties. Picture shows the property of businessman Jim Jonas. Photo: Steve Adams

Firefighters at the Gurney Road property in Costessey where fire destroyed outbuildings of two neighbouring properties. Picture shows the property of businessman Jim Jonas. Photo: Steve Adams

A businessman is hoping to bounce back by rebuilding his fire-hit property which was partially destroyed in a blaze almost one year ago.

It has taken 11 months for Jim Jonas to get to the stage where he can rebuild a garage and workshop which were burnt down in a huge fire on Gurney Road in Costessey last May.

The blaze, which started accidentally, also destroyed his neighbour’s garage and £10,000-worth of stock cars.

Mr Jonas has now put in a planning application to replace the fire-damaged workshop and extend a garage at his home on 83 Gurney Road. It took six crews and 43 firefighters to tackle the blaze among the collection of garages, workshops and sheds on May 23 last year.

Costessey Parish Council has now recommended his planning application for approval as long as no flammable liquids are stored in the garage.

Mr Jonas said the last months had been tough but he was now feeling more optimistic about the future.

He said: “It has not been good – no shed, no tools, no garage.

“It is just a nightmare.” But he added: “It is looking more positive now that I can make a start on building but it will look more positive when I get paid properly (by the insurers).”

According to Mr Jonas, his insurers are refusing to pay for the tools lost in the fire.

“It has affected the business,” he said. “It has been a complete pain I’ve had no proper facilities to use.”

He has also lost bookings on his Rolls Royce which was used for his bridal cars business.

The Rolls Royce Silver Spirit was peppered with debris from the fire and has not been used since.

A Saab convertible was also damaged in the blaze and has been put into storage.

The 40ft shed lost in the fire also contained a life-long collection of DIY tools, a storage shed containing his late mother’s priceless collection of books, and craft equipment used by his wife Jean and daughter Amanda to run their dressmaking business.

On the other side of the fence, at 85 Gurney Road, the blaze also destroyed a workshop containing £10,000 of cars owned by stock car racer Gary LeGrice.

Mr LeGrice put in a planning application to rebuild a two-storey garage and workshop earlier this year.

The application was approved in March by South Norfolk Council.

The council will now make a decision on Mr Jonas’s plans.

Do you have a story about Costessey for the Evening News? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313 or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

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