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Who will save the pierhead?

The Council won't and the Pier Trust can't

Today's HB Times HB Gazette (oops!) highlights the worsening state of the pierhead. Apparently it's outside the Pier Trust's remit, and the Council just watches from the shore to see if the lightbulbs need changing - their bare legal obligation. If we do nothing, time and tide will take their toll, and we will have nothing but rust and memories.

Write to your Councillors and your MP - click this link: WriteToThem.

Isolated at sea, exposed to the elements and crumbling, the old pier rotunda looks unlikely to survive the winter intact. This week outrage grew at the lack of protection given to the iconic building as recent storm damage to the battered structure became visible from the shore.

Former councillor Vince McMahan has attacked the lack of action to protect the landmark. He said:

"The Pier is to Herne Bay what the Cathedral is to Canterbury - the town was built up around it. I can't believe the state of it: you can see the entrance to the old cafeteria has collapsed in the recent winds.   The council won't maintain it. They're just hoping it falls into the sea once and for all so they don't have to think about it. It is part of our heritage. If the time was ever ripe to protect it, it's now as otherwise it won't last the winter."

Council spokesman Rob Davies confirmed there were no plans to shore up the building. He said:

"Council officers have inspected the pier from the coastline following the recent high winds. It appears that some of the timber panelling on the rotunda building has come off, although this is not that surprising given its vulnerable location at the mercy of the elements and the fact it's in a poor condition already. The council is under no obligation to maintain the building but we will consider whether there is any action we can take to remove loose panels and debris if the cost is not prohibitive. The pier structure itself remains robust and we continue to make the checks on the navigation light as required by law."

Pier Trust spokesman Doreen Stone said the charity was powerless to do much. She said:

"The pier head is not the responsibility of the trust. It is iconic to Herne Bay and like everyone we will feel very sad if it suffers further damage. Luckily, although the wooden skeleton is increasingly in poor shape, the metal structure and frame of the rotunda are extremely strong."

HB Gazette 4th Oct 2012

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Reader Comments (5)

This was a Herne Bay Gazette story Phil.
Fri, October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Walker
Mr Rose. Dear me. Once upon a time could be relied on for its accuracy and timeliness. How standards have fallen; all the good stuff's in the Gazette now dontcha know?
Fri, October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd Targett
I am chastened and contrite - will try harder!
Fri, October 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterHBM
I am disappointed that the pier has been dismantled recently. I have been researching the various piers in Herne Bay and understand that the original was built in the 1800's. I moved to Herne Bay in 1984 and always wondered what would happen with the pier a mile out to sea. Reviewing the history, there used to be a tram which took you out to the far end.

My point being, it would be fantastic to rebuild this, however, I fear that Herne Bay is not the place it used to be and no investor would fund this rebuild. It's the same issue with Dreamland in Margate. We all remember the great times had there (if we attended as children), however, it is simply not fasionable enough an area to plough money into!

If I could, I would rebuild the original pier and connect it up again! I wonder, however, what the cost would be and whether this would be fundable through the National Lottery ?
Fri, November 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Keeler
Please could the trustees begin a massive voluntary/funded re-furbishment of the pier/rotunda to save it? If the tram was also re-built/re-instated, such features would entice interest/investment. The wicked high winds of the east (nature) and west (man) can be strong forces against - so turn them round to your advantage - build giant coloured wind-powered attractions/energy providers. Make the pier the Kent place for seasonal/Christmas lights - call for donations from light lovers across the country - stretch out to the barmy and bewildered. Approach those house-owners with homes outwardly be-decked from top to toe in christmas paraphenalia. Make Herne Bay the place all travellers arriving in England want to see!
Mon, December 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Donny Plum-Stone

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