Group raises £120,000 to secure purchase of Shotley Pier for restoration
PUBLISHED: 12:22 12 September 2017
Campaigners have moved a step closer to securing the future of Shotley Pier after raising £120,000 to buy the historic structure and start activity to restore it.
The Shotley Pier Group has been working tirelessly to raise funds for the community to buy the 122-year-old pier in a bid to safeguard its future.
Having raised £58,000 from community shares (costing £25 each), match funding by national Co-op’s Power to Change programme has meant the investors have successfully raised enough to buy the aging structure.
A total of £120,00 has been raised so far.
John Davitt, chairman of the group, said: “We are overwhelmed by the support of all our investors and look forward to the hard work of planning the next stage.”
Of the 300 investors, more than half live in the local community, with the rest coming from further afield in the UK and even a few internationally with Suffolk roots.
The historic structure was built by the Marquis of Bristol for the ferry between Shotley Gate and Harwich, and was used to transport munitions and take sailors from the HMS Ganges training ship.
Plans for its future restoration include kiosks, fishing opportunities and a walkway, which will be restored in Victorian style, looking out over the river Stour.
Margaret Maybury, Babergh District Council cabinet member for communities, said: “This is fantastic news, huge congratulations to everyone involved in the fundraising efforts, this is a wonderful achievement.
“Now the exciting work of buying the pier and getting started on the restoration can begin in earnest. We are really looking forward to supporting the steering group over the coming months as this project really starts to take off.”
Once the purchase of the pier is complete, a number of grant applications will be submitted and further fundraising carried out to begin the restoration, which is expected to take place over three years.
An apprenticeship scheme in civil engineering is also being developed alongside the project.
The group plans to bring the pier back to be used by fishermen, sightseers, birdwatchers and for small yachts to berth alongside, as well as people to enjoy for walks.