WORRIED traders on an industrial estate destroyed by fire fear restrictive planning conditions will ruin their livelihoods.

Five businesses, including the Corner Club pub, were devastated when a blaze ripped through the estate, off Canvey High Street, earlier this month.

They fear onerous planning conditions could make it too expensive or even impossible for them to rebuild their businesses.

Their biggest concern is an Environment Agency ruling over the flood risk in Canvey, which means new buildings have to obey costly regulations, such as providing deeper foundations and higher minimum floor levels.

Lee Petch, joint owner of the Corner Club, said: “It’s causing me a real headache. The flood restrictions mean we might have to build in a certain way.

“Then there’s parking conditions. We don’t have any parking spaces, but it’s never been an issue. It could be now.

“Through no fault of our own, we could lose everything.”

Flames ripped through the industrial yard in the early hours of Tuesday, November 9.

More than 50 firefighters bravely battled the blaze, but most businesses in the yard were razed to the ground.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service investigation could not determine the cause of the fire.

The blaze damaged the premises of furniture maker English Rose Kitchens and Bedrooms, painting contractors Hygienic Coatings, Martin Khan bailiffs, the Corner Club pub and a general store. All are now closed.

Timber yard SLK Timber was damaged, although the business remains open.

Steve Bartell, owner of Pickle’s sandwich bar, which was narrowly missed by the flames, said: “Ideally, what we want is the whole site back as it was.

“If no one can get planning permission, my fear is some developer buys up the whole lot and sits and waits until planning becomes easier.

“Then we’ll have another block of flats instead of a thriving trading estate.”

Norman Smith, Castle Point councillor for economic regeneration, pledged to support the traders.

He said: “I suggest they get together plans of what they are looking to do with the site and ask for a pre-application meeting.

“We will look at how much of the building was destroyed and whether planning can be avoided that way.”