22.5 C
Lancashire
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Southport Pier closure reaffirmed by structural survey findings

Sefton Council has reaffirmed its decision to close Southport Pier for safety reasons, citing structural surveys that also identified repair deficiencies.

The iconic 163-year-old pier has been shut since December, with an estimated repair cost of at least £13 million.

The council has now made these survey reports publicly available as part of its efforts to secure external funding for the pier’s restoration.

Councillor Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and skills, expressed the council’s commitment to preserving the popular structure and acknowledged the critical need for repair work.

The surveys uncovered multiple issues related to repair work carried out in 2000, which have significantly compromised the pier’s integrity.

“Wrong screws”

According to Ms. Atkinson, the contractor responsible for the 2000 repairs used incorrect screws and wood, failed to properly renew the steelwork and fixings, and ultimately caused the failure of the coating system and corrosion of the underlying steelwork.

The council took legal action against the contractor but faced challenges when the company went into liquidation.

Proactive discussions

Despite these setbacks, Sefton Council remains determined to find a solution and has entered into “proactive discussions” with the government and other public sector agencies to secure the necessary funding.

Ms. Atkinson emphasised the importance of addressing the pier’s structural issues. She said: “As we all know, you can patch up a car or a house with temporary repairs and fixes, but if the structure you’re maintaining is flawed, you are going to need some major work, and that’s the point we have reached.”

The closure of Southport Pier has also garnered attention from the National Pier Society, which has been collaborating with the council to identify both short-term and long-term solutions for reopening and maintaining the pier.

Financial burden

Dr. Anya Chapman, representing the National Pier Society, acknowledged the challenges faced by Sefton Council and the financial burden of pier management.

She said: “We recognise the challenges with Southport Pier and the unsustainable financial pressure this places on the council, a theme we are seeing elsewhere nationally. We are committed to supporting those custodians with the responsibilities of managing the past, present, and futures of our piers.”

As discussions continue and efforts to secure funding persist, the future of Southport Pier remains a subject of concern and determination for local authorities and preservation advocates.

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