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  1. Published on: 06/12/2017 03:20 PMReported by: rogerblaxall
    A well known west Lancashire travel firm’s well on the road to recovery – and has sent out early Christmas greetings to the coach and minibus companies who helped it overcome tremendous odds after a devastating 2015 fire.

    Charlton’s Minicoaches of Burscough is now back in gear, as Katie Charlton from the firm told QLocal this afternoon - revealing how an arcane law from over 300 years ago was of no help whatever in the firm's recovery battle...

    "We managed to get back to 12 vehicles by March 2016, three months after the Boxing Day fire,” said Katie.

    "This was mostly at our own cost as our own insurance was reluctant to pay reasonable amounts for the buses we lost so it was a constant battle with them.

    "The money we got didn’t cover all of the finance left so we had to put our own money to that. We also learned that our council ticket machines and tracking units weren’t covered so we had to pay for these too.

    "And due to the Fire Metropolis Act 1774 we were told we couldn’t claim off the HGV owner unless the fire was due to his negligence even though the CCTV showed it started in his vehicle.

    "We therefore had to cover all bus hire and subcontract costs ourselves whilst we desperately tried to find replacement buses to buy.

    "We are proud to say that we never let anyone down and fulfilled all bookings during that time and we were extremely thankful to other local operators that helped us during that time: Formby Coaches, Ashley Travel, Southport Coaches and XL Travel.

    "Without their help we couldn’t have done it.

    Fire forensic experts were supposed to investigate and see if there was any way the fire started due to negligence but unfortunately in May this year the company was devastated to hear that the salvage company had destroyed the remains of the HGV by mistake - meaning there was no hope in recovering any of the costs we had incurred.

    "We have now come to terms with this and are looking forward to the future in our new offices," added Katie.

    Click here for more on the 2015 fire:

    Meanwhile, the family run business has been celebrating its 20th anniversary; launched in 1997 by Martin Charlton, it initially offered wheelchair accessible transport in the local community before branching out into local bus services, school transport and private hire work.

    It continued to grow over the next two decades and now has Martin’s daughter Katie and son Jack on board - this year has also seen it expand and move to new larger premises in Merlin Park on Burscough Industrial Estate.

    MD Martin Charlton said: “We are so happy to be celebrating 20 years in business this year.

    "This is a very special anniversary for us all especially after the devastating fire on Boxing Day two years ago.

    "I’m glad to say we have bounced back from this and continue to go from strength to strength!

    "I am so proud of what we have achieved and would like to thank our hard working staff and our loyal customers for supporting us over the years.

    "We are now looking forward to the next 20 years in business!”

    For more on the company, click here:

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