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Town’s Pier set for major revamp

Town’s Pier set for major revamp

by Ollie Cowan (August 2016)

SEFTON Council has announced plans for the renovation and revamp of Southport Pier.

The plans, which have been submitted to the local authority’s planning department by the council’s architect team, reveal significant investment in the popular tourist destination.

Included in the proposals are two new staircases linking the pier and the beach, two brand new food and beverage retail kiosks and an extension of the pier pavilion itself.

If plans are approved, two existing shelters – which have for a long time been the victim of ongoing vandalism – will be demolished and replaced by the food kiosks.

Now the oldest iron pier in the country, the 3,500ft long structure has, in recent years, seen a significant amount of wear and tear – at one point extensive damage was caused by the weight of the former pier tram which led to an emergency closure of the pier last year.

It’s somewhat fortunate the pier has survived this long – having seen off countless fires, enemy aircraft during World War Two and even an application by Sefton Council to have it demolished in 1990.

Only one vote saw it saved and now, 26 years later, the council is launching an ambitious bid to make the pier bigger and better than ever.

Sefton architectural project manager, Alan Lake, said: “Since its restoration, Southport Pier has remained a busy and popular attraction.

“Sefton Council wishes to further expand the Pier’s offer and incorporate additional concessions and attractions to further enhance the Pier’s appeal and ensure its long-term sustainability.

“Improving Southport’s visitor economy is a key aim of the Southport Development Strategy which recognises the Pier as a key asset which needs to be developed and enhanced.

“Given the current financial constraints and the local government budget situation, it is also important that new revenue streams are identified to ensure the Council has adequate funds for ongoing maintenance to fully safeguard the Pier.

“Ongoing costs include structural repairs and re-painting and increased revenue is vital to secure this investment.

“Sefton Council commissioned a consultancy report from Bilfinger GVA to advise on opportunities to broaden the appeal and sources of income on Southport Pier and these proposals are a direct consequence of those recommendations.”

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