Felixstowe: New pier attraction could be a visitor magnet

Transforming Felixstowe’s crumbling pier into a multi-million pound mega-attraction would create a magnet for visitors to the resort.

That was the view today of the National Piers Society, which said it backed the Evening Star’s Bring Back the Pier campaign and would love to see the landmark redeveloped.

The society has already identified Felixstowe pier as one of ten of the 54 piers left in Britain that are in danger of collapse or demolition.

Society spokesman Anthony Wills said there had been some very successful projects to rejuvenate piers and a project at Felixstowe would definitely have the potential to attract people from far and wide.

“I am absolutely certain it could be a magnet to bring people to the town,” he said.

Some piers have been revamped to include major attractions such as theatres and other tourist experiences, while for many people there was still a magic in just being able to walk out over the sea.

Mr Wills said one of the problems for privately-owned piers such as Felixstowe’s was in gaining finance for projects, and even if a charitable trust was formed, because the pier is not listed it would not be able to gain heritage lottery funding.

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“At the moment we are trying to persuade the government to change the rules that prevent privately-owned piers gaining lottery funding – we believe that piers should be treated as a special case in the same way as Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s campaign for privately-owned West End theatres for similar help,” he said.

“Piers are a very special part of our heritage and we believe they should be protected and looked after and be a central part of the seaside, as they once were.

“In some resorts they have grandiose regeneration plans and the pier sticks out like a sore thumb, but they draw a circle round it and say it is nothing to do with us, which is quite extraordinary.”