Southend Borough Council is set to continue its major investment in Southend Pier, with a further £11.5m proposed to be spent on maintenance, repairs and major improvements over the next four years.
This is in addition to £4.2m already committed to structural works up to April 2020, and £1.2m being spent this year and next on essential structural reinforcement on the Prince George extension.
This would take the investment in the Pier from April 2016 to March 2021 to over £17m.
The proposed new projects are part of the 2017/18 draft capital budget and includes £8m to reconstruct the timber outer pier head following storm damage in 2015, a further £1.5m for reinforcement works to the Prince George extension, £300,000 for pier entrance improvements and £1m to undertake a planned programme of works of bearing refurbishments to reduce the risk of future pile cap failures.
The proposed investment is thanks to a properly planned condition survey programme and constant management and monitoring of the maintenance required.
Along with this vital work that would secure the long-term future of the Pier structure, the Council is also looking to continue its commitment to improve and invest in the Pier as an attraction.
As part of this, the council will be looking into options for developing the Pavilion deck, improve the entrance, and continue its review into future transport options to replace the ageing Pier train.
Ann Holland, Executive Cllr for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, says: “The Pier is an iconic world famous landmark and the jewel in our crown.
“Many people will not realise the millions of pounds that are required each and every year just to keep the Pier open and maintained.
This is by far and away the most challenging and demanding structure that we have responsibility for, and vast amounts of unseen work are required on a daily basis to keep it running and keep it an attractive place to visit and spend time.
“This proposed investment does a number of things. It ensures the future of this historical and listed structure, ensures that it remains open and a popular destination, and also looks to the future, with work to be done looking at what can be done on the pavilion deck and at transport options for the future.”
In addition to the multi-million pound Pier investment, it is also proposed that £50,000 is allocated to provide more commercial beach huts, a small fleet of rickshaw type bikes for visitor use and a new shelter on City Beach.
The pier investment in numbers:
2015/16 to 2020/21:
Structural works to Pier stem – £4.145m
Prince George extension – £2.743m
Timber outer head programme – £8m
Condition programme – £1.985m
Other Pier enhancements – £750K
Total investment – £17.623m
New investment in Southend Pier:
2017/18 – £1.375m
2018/19 – £6.425m
2019/20 – £3.250m
2020/21 – £500K
Total new investment – £11.550m