Clevedon Pier – Another television appearance for the pier
Clevedon Pier’s popularity with filming crews over the last ten years continues with the airing of the Channel 4 television programme “Truelove”. The pier features in the first episode, which was broadcast on Wednesday 3rd January (available to watch on the Channel 4 website). The pier’s first appearance that made it known worldwide was, arguably, during the filming of a One Direction music video in 2014.
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Clacton Pier – Proposals for 2024
Billy and Elliott Ball and their devoted team have achieved a remarkable catalogue of improvement works to the pier in recent years, as members of the National Piers Society will surely know. For 2024, perhaps encouraged by the positive response to 2023’s events devoted to the “Year of the Pier”, an expansion in the event schedule is being proposed. In addition, the planning of new workshops and staff facilities are underway in facilitation of these events. The pier management will be revealing the events schedule in the coming weeks. Past developments since 2013 have been recorded on the NPS’ page for Clacton Pier (See link below) and does well to emphasise the extent of the work that has been done during this interval.
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Walton Pier – Updated book devoted to Walton Pier Bowl to be released
The bowling alley at the pier was tributed in a book written by Steven Walker, published in 2022. Following a number of comments and recollections by readers and bowling colleagues, an expanded version is to be released later this January. It will be launched at The Nose Bookstore in Walton on the 20th January. The previous version was a substantial piece considering the scope of the subject, with nearly 180 pages (according to its Amazon listing). One wonders how big a book devoted to the entirity of Walton Pier might be!
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Tenby Harbour Breakwater – The “tombstoning” problem
The South-Wales harbour village has battled with anti-social behaviour around the harbour in recent years and diving from the breakwater has been identified as a particularly critical hazard. Following the installation of signage across the harbour, it has been the part-time closure of the pier which has finally produced results. Access to the seaward half of the breakwater during high tide has been restricted by security gates at certain times of the year, whilst “legitimate” harbour users naturally have continued access. It has been reported that this has had a positive effect thus far.
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Southsea Beach – Poor water quality
The Environment Agency has revised the water quality rating of the “Southsea East Bathing Area”, which passes under South Parade Pier, as poor. This rating had gradually worsened from an “Excellent” rating in 2019. A surface water outfall is located within the catchment area, in addition to a considerable area of sea defence construction work; both of which have been suggested as potential causes for the worsening conditions. In accordance with the rating, the public is now advised to avoid bathing in the area.
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Herne Bay Pier Forecourt – Debate over Council’s ongoing “plaza” development
Kent County Council has constructed a permanent road blockade at the entrance of Herne Bay Pier, forming a square that is accessible only to pedestrans and cyclists. Vehicles are thusly diverted along a new one-way system through the town centre. The existing prospect of an empty asphalt square, blocked to vehicles with a series of timber crates, has led to some residents to criticise the Council’s interventions. Whether the square will be made into something more in the approach to the peak season remains to be seen; in connecting the existing well-established pedestrian features to the North and South and also to the pier itself, there may well be some potential for success in the future.
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Clevedon – Arrangements for the Off-Peak season
The Winter season is often an uncertain and unrewarding time for seaside towns, it being common for businesses to temporarily close during this period and leave the town as a desert for its residents. Clevedon, however, is managing to resist this trend and ensuring that hospitality continues to be provided for its residents and any remaining tourists. Employing a reduced workforce, the pier continues to be opened for the enjoyment of residents and its illumination over Christmas has caused considerable additional attraction. Clevedon’s retail trade continues to take advantage of the Christmas trade, but some businesses suspect that the controversial seafront “improvement works” have impacted some footfall.
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Llandudno – A history of its two jetties
Llandudno Pier is accompanied by two comparitively modest marine structures, which continue to serve as ancilliary landing places for smaller vessels (Llandudno Pier, conversely, acts as landing place for larger pleasure cruisers). This article details the history of these two jetties.
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Southend Pier – Southend Council announces structural repairs
Approximately £6 million is to be devoted to structural repairs at Southend Pier, emphasising on works to the pier head’s Prince George Extension and general maintenance over the following five years. Meanwhile, the Council continues to investigate potential private companies to run parts of the pier in the future.
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Fort Victoria Pier, Isle of Wight – Regeneration Proposals Refused
Proposals by a private developer for the Fort Victoria Pier, near to Yarmouth, have been refused by the local planning authority. These proposals involved the reconstruction of the pier, presently in a largely skeletal state, and the development of a shop/restaurant. The surrounding foreshore was to be developed with contemporary housing. Having received 150 public objections, the application was rejected by Isle of Wight Council.
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Deal Pier – Storm damage repairs shortly to be completed
The mesh decking panels of Deal Pier’s lower deck were previously reported to have been damaged by recent storms, thus closing the deck to anglers and visitors. Dover District Council has confirmed that replacement decking has been ordered and will be installed in the coming weeks. The rest of the pier has remained open throughout this period.
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Bournemouth Pier – Plans for 1 year of structural repairs
After a gradual stream of reports relating to Bournemouth Pier’s deteriorating structural condition over recent years, a campaign of structural repairs has been announced. It is anticipated that the Pier will be closed through this period, which may extend to an entire year of work.
Note: The linked news article is restricted by a paywall.
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Clacton Pier – More positive updates
Continuing from last week’s reports, the Clacton Pier Company has announced the firework display programme for 2024. Ten such events will extend from March to November, covering Easter, Guy Fawkes Night and several dates through the Summer. A display on the 22nd August will coincide with the Clacton Airshow displays.
Meanwhile, one of Clacton Pier’s funfare rides, Twister, is to be dismantled and refurbished ahead of the peak season. This follows on from similar work undertaken on The Waltzer last year. All other rides on the pier, as usual, receive regular safety inspections and in-situ maintenance work.
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Southsea – Response over “poor” seawater quality rating
Following last week’s reports to the Environment Agency’s downgraded water quality rating for bathing in the Southsea East area, Portsmouth Council have responded with considerable urgency. A partnership between the Council, Environment Ageny and Southern Water have confirmed that such potential causes as the coastal defence work or nearby pumping stations had not caused the deterioration in quality in this instance, and that more intensive monitoring will take place to ensure that the rating can be improved as promptly as possible. Several blockages to sewer mains and private drains have been identified and repaired; it remains to be seen whether these remedies will have the desired effect.
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Saltburn – A History of the town
A detailed and well-written history of Saltburn’s most remarkable features. Whilst its purpose claims to be to promote the town’s appeal in the off-peak season, there is less suggestion of what Saltburn is like, today, in the off-peak season than one would expect. Notwithstanding this, there is lots to learn in this article and it is (thankfully) relatively uncompromised by in-page adverts.
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Blackpool – A selection of historical photographs
19 photographs focussing on the Pleasure Beach, extracted from the Getty Images archive and taken at various periods through the 20th Century. Following the link to the first of three pages, you will find links to three further photographic selections.
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Bournemouth Pier – An update from the pier operators, following last week’s news article.
Openwide International, lessees of Bournemouth Pier, have sought to reassure visitors that, contrary to some reports it is hoped there will be no significant closures of Bournemouth Pier during the forthcoming renovations. In a statement Director Rory Holburn said, “We are currently in discussion with the council to try to understand the details of their plans before we can assess the potential impact.
“However, from our experience in operating Cromer Pier, on behalf of NNDC (North Norfolk District Council), any closures should be minimal as it is very easy to maintain access by managing and planning works in conjunction with operations in order to keep the business running as close to normal as possible, enabling us to protect jobs and retain the skills required for the future.
“The grant funding is awarded to BCP Council and Openwide International have no control or benefit from these funds.”
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Southend Pier – Waverley cruising season announced
PS Waverley will be landing at Southend Pier this year between the 23rd September and 13th October. From the pier Waverley will offer excursions to the Rivers Blackwater and Medway, to the Maunsell Sea Forts and into London. The finalised timetable and opportunity to book tickets will be available later in the year.
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Clevedon Pier – Position for a new Chair of the board of directors
Clevedon Pier Heritage Trust is searching for a new chair for their board of directors. The position was previously held by Phil Curme since 2017, who successfully led the pier towards its 150th celebration, ensured that it survived the Coronavirous pandemic, and saw it win its third Pier of the Year award in 2021. As Phil is intending to move on from this position, he is to be thanked for his work to ensure that the pier flourishes.
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Brighton Palace Pier – Impact of proposed “Valley Gardens” development
After Brighton Council announced the third phase of an urban renewal project in the centre of Brighton, involving setting out a “sustainable transport corridor” and revitalised public spaces, Brighton Palace Pier have expressed concerns at the impacts of this work. Having seen previous operating seasons impacted variously by fires in nearby hotels, railway disruptions and the pandemic, the pier company is weary towards any further potential disruption. The construction work to take place beside the pier entrance, involving the replacement of the existing roundabout, is of particular concern to the company. The Council, however, are confident that the positive effects of the public realm works will be beneficial to the trading performance of the pier.
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Lowestoft Claremont Pier – Nightclub gives way to Crazy Golf
The nightclub on the first floor of Claremont Pier’s main building, most recently re-styled as “The Venue”, closed at the end of last year’s Summer season. With it having only opened on Saturday nights, Claremont Pier’s owners decided to introduce a function that would make full use of the space throughout the week. The proposed Crazy Golf facility, to be named “Pirates at the Claremont”, is hoped to be completed for Easter and will allow the pier to offer additional indoor attractions; a very much-needed resource during Winter and on rainy Summer days.
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Southport Pier – Structural inspection nears completion
The much-reported structural inspection of Southport Pier’s substructure, instructed by Sefton Council, will be completed in mid-February. Owing to the physical length of the pier and the intrusive nature of the inspection works (much of the decking needing to be dismantled in the process), the work extends over four months, before any repair work can be planned. This most important latter phase depends on the Council securing sufficient funding for the repair work.
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Llandudno Pier – Ongoing structural repairs
Replacement steel members have been delivered at the pier head, in preparation for installation within the pier head’s substructure. Structural works often take place at the pier during each year’s off-peak season and is complemented by routine maintenance/replacement of decking, attractions and pier furniture.
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Southport Pier – Southport College engineering students invited to observe survey works
Architecture and Engineering students from Southport College were given a remarkable opportunity to visit the pier to inspect the ongoing structural survey works with contractors A E Yates. The guided tour perhaps stoked heightened enthusiasm towards the rehabitation of the pier from both parties, whilst indicating a willingness from the Council and contractors towards meaningful community outreach.
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Clacton Pier – Ongoing modernisation work at Discovery Bay
Following previous reports in recent weeks relating to the proposed firework display schedule and maintenance works to the outdoor fairground attractions, investment continues in the indoor Discovery Bay activity play centre and elsewhere in the pier’s indoor facilities. The details included in the proposed modernisation work, including an Art-Deco styled cinema, an “Ocean Theatre” and “The Wise Owl’s Library”, make for tantalising reading.
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Ramsey Queen’s Pier (Isle of Man) – Donation of I.T equipment amid continued restoration work
As the volunteer-led rebuilding of Queen’s Pier continues at a healthy rate, the restoration trust have been grateful recipents of numerous donations of equipment and supplies to facilitate their work. Recently, a local computer supplier gifted them a new computer system.
In terms of the rebuilding process itself, the first six bays have been completed and were open for public enjoyment during a series of remarkable Christmas light-lit “dusk walks” over the Christmas season. New steel trusses have been ordered for bays 7-8; the most recent update can be seen on the Restoration Trust’s Facebook page below.
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Southsea Clarence Pier – A gallery of historical photographs
Six pages of vintage photographs from the locality of Clarence Pier and its surrounding seafront. The date range spans most of the 20th century, leading to some profound comparisons between scenes where frilly Victorian ornamentation prevail, and those where early evidence of Modernism can be detected. During the NPS’ 2022 AGM visit to Southsea, it could be seen that the balance between these two opposing characters arguably remains healthy.
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Lytham St. Annes – Praise for an “Underrated” resort
This article highlights Lytham St. Annes as being a seaside resort of considerable potential and capable of surprising visitors with its current range of attractions, despite being less well-known than the “core” UK resorts. The survival of its Victorian character is apparent in the article, which also fondly refers to St. Annes Pier.
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Weston Birnbeck Pier – Construction Contracts to be agreed in an upcoming Council meeting
The turning point in the pier’s fortunes continues under North Somerset Council’s care. A Council meeting on the 7th February will seek to agree on proposals for construction contracts, relating to the restoration works over the coming years. Thus far, over £9 million in funding has been secured, both for the active restoration works to the pier and to support the preparation of further funding applications.
North Somerset Council have released the following provisional timeline of works:
Autumn/winter 2024 to summer/autumn 2025 – repair and renovation work to the landside buildings.
Spring/summer 2025 to spring/summer 2026 – pier deck construction and repair work to strengthen the pier.
Summer 2025 to summer/autumn 2026 – building work to create a new RNLI lifeboat station and visitor centre.
Spring/summer 2026 to autumn/winter 2026 – further work to the enhance the pier deck, repair the island sea wall, stabilise the pavilion and install interpretation boards and visitor information.
Based on this initial funding, the following contracts are to be secured:
Specialist contracts for advanced phases of work required to protect public safety and the integrity of the land, buildings and structures before the main restoration work (up to £575k). This includes asbestos removal, repair of the sea walls, safety work to the rock face at the pier head. This also may include work to buildings on the island including the clocktower and the 1888 boathouse.
Restoration and renovation work funded by the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund (up to £3.9m). This includes restoration of the landside buildings and creating space for a café and other visitor facilities including toilets.
Restoration and renovation work funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (around £4.5m). The following would only go ahead if a future grant of £4.2m is awarded: work to the pavilion and other structures on the island, restoration of turnstiles and further visitor improvements. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has already awarded an initial grant of £234,761 to be spent on the development phase of the project.
The progress surrounding Birnbeck Pier over the last six months has been startlingly rapid and surely marks an undeniable change in direction to the fate of the pier. The genuine sense of urgency in the Council’s work has been admirable and they are to be congratulated for their attitude. The National Piers Society is in direct contact with members of the Council and so successive updates and information will likely be regular features to this newsletter.
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Southend Pier – Flurries of unexpected wildlife
In two unconnected reports, Southend Pier was highlighted as a surprise venue for wildlife-spotting. Photographs were shared of a seal which was progressing along the main deck of the pier. It was ultimately attended to by pier staff. A second report recorded the arrival of White-billed Divers to the coast surrounding the pier. Observed from the pier head over two days last week, UK sightings of these birds are mostly concentrated in Scotland. Sightings such as this are of considerable interest to twitchers and the pier management were keen to communicate the reported sightings to the wide community and encourage them to observe this remarkable sighting.
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Bournemouth Big Wheel – Dismantled for routine maintenance
The town’s observation wheel, located opposite the entrance to Bournemouth Pier, has been dismantled for comprehensive repair and maintenance works. Due to be reinstated for Easter, it offers remarkable elevated views across the length of the pier’s deck and across Poole Bay.
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Harwich Ha’penny Pier – New owners for cafe
Ownership of the cafe facilities at the entrance of Ha’penny Pier has been transferred to Milsom Hotels, who run a successful network of local hotels, restaurants and bars. The cafe will be titled “Deck 1853” and will offer flexible menus and opening hours to reflect the varying target markets throughout the year. Milsom Hotels also run The Pier Hotel, immediately opposite the cafe, and the cafe’s management will be based there.
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Consultation rejects new Kilcreggan harbour plan
The results of a public consultation on the £9.6m plans for ‘Kilcreggan Harbour’ carried out the previous March were published and showed a 75% rejection of the plans.The results had only been made public after a series of Freedom of Information requests.
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