Who will save the pierhead?
Oct 4, 2012 at 17:09
HBM in Doreen Stone, Herne Bay, Our Council, Pier, Rob Davies, Vince McMahan

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.

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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

Article originally appeared on HerneBayMatters.com (http://www.hernebaymatters.com/).
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