Stricken Southport Pier is to undergo ‘exploratory and investigative’ works as Sefton Council continues to try to secure around £13m funding to get it fixed and reopened. Tony McDonough reports
Sefton Council is to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on “exploratory and investigative works” on Southport Pier.
In June LBN reported that the pier, which first opened to the public in 1860, would remain closed for the foreseeable future. Freezing temperatures in December 2022 caused “significant and unavoidable damage” to the structure.
In September Sefton Council estimated it could cost around £13m to get the pier fixed and open again. But it admitted that it simply did not have the money and was pushing the Government for support. The closure has been devastating for businesses on the pier.
An independent survey revealed more than 25% of the pier’s decking is majorly damaged or in need of immediate replacement. This equates to over 14 miles of severely decayed decking.
Now civil engineers A E Yates have been appointed by the local authority to oversee the latest works. Contractors will be on site from Monday, November 20. These investigations will ultimately guide the larger refurbishment project.
A contract for the main refurbishment works to the whole pier is due to be issued for tender within the next two weeks.
Sefton Council continues to progress the project as far as possible while at the same time looking to secure long-term funding for the capital works and ongoing maintenance. It says it is prepared to start work as soon as the cash is secured.
This phase of the project is expected to last until mid-February 2023 and see a significant section of the pier’s damaged decking removed. There will also be further assessments of the integrity of both the pier’s cast iron columns and steel structure.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “As promised we have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure all pre-construction work is carried out and completed to ensure we have a fully costed and detailed project ready to go should funding become available.
“We are working with the contractor to ensure they are able to get on site and begin the exploratory and investigating works needed to guide the wider refurbishment.
“This is by no means a small task and will involve significant work to further understand the current structural integrity of the Pier.
“While these works are being funded entirely by Sefton Council we are still actively seeking support from other bodies and organisations and will continue to ask for help to restore our iconic pier.”