Joy as Shotley Pier finally set to reopen after being derelict for over 30 years
- Credit: Peta Hillier
It has been derelict for more than 30 years - but now people will finally be able to set foot on an iconic seaside attraction that has been derelict for more than a generation.
Residents have long held ambitions to revamp Shotley Pier, which has a storied past - having been first constructed in 1894 and previously used to ferry mail, coal, munitions and sailors across the River Stour.
The Shotley Heritage Charitable Community Benefit Society purchased the landmark in 2017 and restored it last year, with the first 30 metres (98 feet) of the pier being completely renovated.
However, due to Covid, it decided to wait so that more secure handrails could be put in place.
Amicus Civil Engineering is due to install the handrails next month, meaning people should at last be allowed to walk along part of the pier.
Shotley Heritage Charitable Community Benefit Society vice-chairman Sally Chicken, said: "People have been waiting a long time. I never had walked the pier until I joined the charity."
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Organisers say the changes will allow the public to get "better views of the captivating River Stour and the fascinating world-renowned ports of Harwich and Felixstowe".
However, the society is not yet done - volunteers will continue to fundraise for the next section of its renovation, with the goal to repair the entire 198-metre length of the pier in stages over the coming years.
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More than 200 people have already paid £100 to sponsor a plank, while funding has also come from Babergh District Council and the government's Coastal Revival Fund.
The project also received a £144,864 windfall from the EU’s European Agricultural Fund.
Local events such as an annual art show, monthly coffee mornings and other events have also been held, which the charity aims to bring back in the future.
Dave Wadsworth, operations director at Amicus, said he was "looking forward" to working with the society in the future on phase two so the pier can be improved and extend further.
Food truck Pierside Snacks, run by the Shotley society, will also be back at the pier in time for the bank holiday weekend on May 29, subject to any new Covid restrictions.