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The ninth iffiest Pier?

Herne Bay pier is among 10 across England and Wales that have been identified as being at serious risk of demolition or collapse. The report from the National Piers Society, placed the town's iconic structure at number nine in a top 10 which also includes Hastings and Brighton West piers in neighbouring East Sussex. But staunch defenders of Herne Bay Pier's future have dismissed the survey as pure conjecture. Graham Cooper, chairman of the Herne Bay Pier Trust, said:

"There's absolutely no scientific basis for this. It's purely based on public opinion and we or the city council have not been contacted to ask what we think. The pier structure itself is not at risk of decay or collapse but, of course, the pier head is. The Pier Trust is here to make plans for regeneration and to look at ways of changing it for the future. Canterbury City Council have already engaged consultants to look into future uses."

The National Piers Society believe this week's list illustrates the continued decline of the landmarks across England and Wales. A total of 101 piers were all built between 1814 and 1957 and now just over half of those remain, with 10 closed to the public. Society spokesman Anthony Wills feels the future is mixed. He said:

"It depends on whether piers can rebrand themselves and on what kind of state they've got into. Most important is whether or not the owners, be they private or the local authority, are continually investing and maintaining the structure, rather than just looking at the money-making aspects above the decking."

Hopes are high for Herne Bay pier's future, with Mr Cooper confident it can survive after the relocation of the Pier Pavilion sports centre next year. He added:

"This survey hasn't really taken any context into account. Herne Bay pier is in council hands, not private ownership and if the will is there, which it is, then something can be done. There's 100 per cent commitment from both the trust and the city council to improve the structure for future generations."

Kentish Gazette 2nd Sep 2009

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