Felixstowe pier owners new warning

OWNERS of Felixstowe pier fear that the landmark could meet the same demise as Brighton's West pier.A large section of the historic East Sussex pier has fallen in to the sea and the Felixstowe pier trust believe it will only be a matter of time before the pier's jetty follows suit.

OWNERS of Felixstowe pier fear that the landmark could meet the same demise as Brighton's West pier.

A large section of the historic East Sussex pier has fallen in to the sea and the Felixstowe pier trust believe it will only be a matter of time before the pier's jetty follows suit.

"It's a similar situation to ours, it was condemned pier, structurally unsafe - ours is the same," said the secretary of the pier trust Norman Thompson.

"Things can happen at any time and we never know when it's going to happen, it depends on the tide conditions. It could fall in severe weather conditions.


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"Brighton has got a trust and we have got a trust. We're both in a similar situation but they have got a lot of money in the bank from the charity commission to pay for a new one, they have £30 million tucked away somewhere."

Trustees had hoped to replace the crumbling pier with a £15 million five deck new one with a 100ft diameter revolving restaurant. It was to feature tenpin bowling, shops, snack bars, a family entertainment centre and an exhibition hall.

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However they abandoned the plan after five years of trying because of lack of public support and interest.

They had failed to raise enough money for a feasibility study for the venture, which was needed to persuade the National Lottery and other grant-giving organisations to support it.

But now as all hope has been lost for the regeneration of the relic, the trust is also considering its own closure.

"The next thing we're going to do is talk to the trustees. We're going to talk later in January about the future of the trust and our next step.

"In the meantime nothing is happening, it's just sitting there, if it falls down we would have to a think about it a bit quicker."

He added that if it were to fall down the trustees would have to consider the cost of removing the debris.

A section of the West Pier, in Brighton, including a temporary walkway connecting the concert hall and the pavilion, completely collapsed into the sea on Sunday morning. The pier had been in a state of disrepair for many years and was closed to the public because of fears it may collapse. The West Pier Trust has spent about £1.5m strengthening the pier in preparation for restoration work and the main £30 million restoration had been scheduled to start in summer 2003 and was due for completion in 2005.

WEBLINKS:

www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/piers/felixstowe%20pier.htm

www.piers.co.uk

Fast facts

Brighton West Pier Felixstowe Pier's jetty

Built 1866 1905

Closed 1975 1998

Length 1,115ft (337.8m) 450ft (136m)

Features Central bandstand, Amusement arcade,

pavilion, cafe

restaurant, bingo hall

1,000 seater theatre, promenade

1400 seater concert hall fast food outlets

Source: The Heritage Trail.

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