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Crunch meeting could decide iconic pier’s future

PUBLISHED: 16:08 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:49 19 November 2018

Plans for the future of the pier are top of the agenda for tonight's meeting between supporters and objectors for the current renovation of Shotley pier. Picture: SALLY CHICKEN

Plans for the future of the pier are top of the agenda for tonight's meeting between supporters and objectors for the current renovation of Shotley pier. Picture: SALLY CHICKEN

Archant

A crunch summit between Shotley Pier stakeholders is being held to try and decide on the plans for the future of the Suffolk tourist attraction.

Shotley Pier, currently awaiting a potential development and the topic of debat at the AGM of the Shotley Heritage Community Charitable Benefit Society Ltd. Picture: GREGG BROWNShotley Pier, currently awaiting a potential development and the topic of debat at the AGM of the Shotley Heritage Community Charitable Benefit Society Ltd. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Members of the Shotley Heritage Community Charitable Benefit Society bought the pier in February 2018 and submitted a planning application to Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils for a £3million renovation.

The plans included a workshop and a cafe, with seating for 80 people - but the steep cost and modern designs put off some councillors on the planning committee and the application was denied.

Now, an alternative design is set to be proposed by a shareholder at the society’s annual general meeting on Friday, November 16.

Derek Davis, a shareholder in the society, said: “The petition reaching almost 300 signatures is a sign that this is not just a few unhappy residents.

The Shotley Pier Group have been divided over what to do with the pier and had their most recent planning application turned down by Babergh and Mid Suffolk Council. Picture: SHOTLEY PIER GROUPThe Shotley Pier Group have been divided over what to do with the pier and had their most recent planning application turned down by Babergh and Mid Suffolk Council. Picture: SHOTLEY PIER GROUP

“I have now seen the plans that will be revealed to our other shareholders this evening and I have to admit, I think it’s a fair compromise between the two ideas.”

Mr Davis has a different vision for the pier and supports a petition with almost 300 signatures that calls for the restoration of the pier’s Victorian roots - with just benches and lampposts decorating the walkway.

The potential new design is being kept under wraps until the AGM, where any stakeholder is welcome to make a suggestion for any alternatives.

Mr Davis said: “We are hoping that all of the stakeholders can come to an agreement, either at this meeting or further down the line.

The pier is 600 foot long and was used to transport mail, munitions and sailors to HMS Ganges and is the only railway pier in Suffolk. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe pier is 600 foot long and was used to transport mail, munitions and sailors to HMS Ganges and is the only railway pier in Suffolk. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“The two ideas are very different, so neither group is going to be completely satisfied.

“As a ward councillor I think tonight will be a good indicator of what the people want.”

Even though the original planning application was denied, the directors of the society have appealed the decision and are currently supporting another attempt to have their multi-million pound development realised - complete with a community centre displaying the history of the landmark.

Sally Chicken, who supports the appeal, said the directors, who will be elected at the AGM, will make a full statement after hearing from the shareholders at the meeting.

She added: “We are expecting a large turnout for the meeting and we are looking forward to seeing our members again.”

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