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Shotley Pier design votes could 'deepen divisions', warns shareholder

PUBLISHED: 09:52 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:26 16 January 2019

Board members of Save Shotley Pier group.

Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Board members of Save Shotley Pier group. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Archant

Hundreds of people invested in revamping an historic Suffolk pier have cast their vote on its future design.

Shotley Pier.

Picture: RACHEL EDGEShotley Pier. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Proposals to build a visitor’s centre and cafe at Shotley Pier were rejected by council planners last year – and now members of the Shotley Heritage Charitable Community Benefit Society Ltd (SHCCBS) have set out options for a possible redesign.

More than 200 shareholders of the Victorian pier, who have committed their own cash to see it renovated and restored, have decided future buildings beside it will have pitched gable roofs.

An appeal against Babergh District Council’s decision to throw out the original plans is ongoing alongside the vote.

Chairman John Davitt said: “We have been pleased to get loads of comments, votes and feedback – and there was a clear preference for the gable pitched roof.”

Shotley Pier.

Picture: RACHEL EDGEShotley Pier. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

This new proposal has scaled back versions of the blueprint first put forward to Babergh – with the proposed capacity of the cafe reduced from 84 to 12 people.

Buildings featuring in the plan are asymmetrical, and would be built on platforms either side of the Victorian pier.

However six months on from the planning meeting in August – which saw the original proposal turned down – shareholders are divided on the best course of action.

Babergh district councillor Derek Davis abstained from voting, and said he feels the directors are not considering the opinions of the group.

Mr Davis said: “It’s all a farce – it’s not the design many people agreed to at the AGM in December and I still believe they are trying to hoodwink people into supporting their plan.”

An alternative blueprint seen at the AGM had smaller symmetrical buildings at the front of the pier and was designed to promote the Victorian design elements.

The SHCCBS board of directors said Mr Davitt addressed the alternative design at the AGM, explaining the design concept at that stage was for consideration.

A show of hands was requested a show of hands to indicate support for it, they added.

And a members vote on the roof design was already agreed and going ahead when this was raised, directors said.

But Mr Davis continued: “It seems the directors are not listening to shareholders.

“If they keep this up, divisions in the community will deepen.”

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