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Claremont Pier in Lowestoft could benefit from government cash boost

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 March 2015

View of Claremont Pier in Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

View of Claremont Pier in Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

Lowestoft's Claremont Pier has been at the forefront of the town's beach resort for more than 100 years and has recently gained momentum through a new music and roller-skating venue.

The Claremont Pier in Lowestoft. Picture: James BassThe Claremont Pier in Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

But structurally, the pier needs around £1.5million of repairs - and to help facilitate the first stages of the development, owner David Scott could benefit from a new £3million government pot which aims to kick-start a new life for the country’s at-risk coastal heritage.

The new Coastal Revival Fund will offer grants to help get restoration projects under way across England, with the hope that they will attract more cash from the private and charitable sectors to finish projects.

Seaside areas will also receive support from new coastal community teams, with more than £1million provided for 110 teams which will aim to
create long-term visions for their area.

However, Mr Scott, whose family have owned the pier for 45 years, emphasised that the money might not make a significant difference.

“It all depends on where the £3million is allocated,” he said.

“Let’s be honest - any interest is good, but the fact we are one of many individual cases means it will not amount to much.

“If the funding is going to every resort, it will just be too little. There needs more substance to it.

“Over the past five years we have put a lot of money into the pier and obviously the icing on the cake is to make pier a major feature in the town.

“We will keep on investing and I think we have succeeded and we are definitely on the up.”

Dr Anya Chapman, honorary secretary for the National Piers Society, said: “The coastal revival fund is open to privately-owned piers and the Claremont Pier needs £1.5million to get its pier neck reopened and rebuilt.

“This fund doesn’t stretch to that and the maximum that could obtain would be £100,000, so I would say it is a step in the right direction but there needs to be a community group developed and attached to it in order to bid for funding.”

The Claremont Pier was constructed in 1902 and was used as a landing stage for Belle steamers.

In 1962, the pier-head and some of the main structure were destroyed by storms.

An extensive restoration plan was announced in 1988 but although the shoreward end amusements were renovated, the rest of the pier was not and the unsafe seaward end has remained closed.

Lowestoft is also home to the South Pier, which had its seaward end fenced off beyond the RNLI building by owner Associated British Ports in 2013 amid fears over public safety.

It was initially built in 1831, and then extended in 1846.

Other piers in this region include Cromer Pier, where work to rebuild the storm-surge damaged box office is almost complete, and Great Yarmouth’s Britannia and Wellington piers, which could also benefit from the funding.

Coastal communities minister Penny Mordaunt said: “There is enormous potential in our coastal areas that we are determined to unlock so they can rise up and create new jobs and play a key part in our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain.

“Our new heritage fund is an important catalyst for drawing in additional funding that will get the revival of hard-to-tackle local coastal attractions under way and support new businesses.

“Coastal community teams will be essential for pulling together a shared vision that makes that most of local heritage.”

What do you think of the piers in our area? Email: joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk

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