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"I am very optimistic about the plans."

Fourth Pier: Eden-on-Sea

Herne Bay could end up with two giant domes on its pier, just like Cornwall’s award-winning Eden Project. The idea is the brainchild of graphic designer Dave Parish. He submitted his plans to a secret meeting of the town’s Pier Trust last week, and says feedback has so far been positive. He told the Times: “I am very optimistic about the plans.”

The Pier Trust is so taken by them that they are allowing Mr Parish, of Carlton Hill, to present them to the public on the pier on Saturday August 21 – the first day of the Herne Bay Festival. Mr Parish, 60, said:

“I’d like the emphasis to be on the environment, the community arts, leisure and tourism. It would be an environmental project influenced by the Eden Project but on a much smaller scale. There are still a lot of questions which need answers, but I often use my intuition and I feel this would work for Herne Bay if the money can be found. It would give Herne Bay the first green pier.”

He added that it might make an ideal new home for the town’s museum, which the city council is downgrading to save money. One of the climate-controlled geo-domes, made from glass, glass-fibre and the same hard-wearing transparent plastic material used by the Eden Project, would be called the Palm Dome. Mr Parish says it could be used for theatre, concerts, stand-up comedy, tea dances, wedding receptions and festivals, and have its own restaurant. It would feature cacti, palms and tree ferns, making it useful for school educational trips.

The transparent panels would protect visitors from rain, wind and sea but produce spectacular sea views. It would be linked to the second dome by a courtyard and tunnel. The Play Dome would feature a children’s all-weather play area with entertainment such as Punch and Judy shows, clowns, magicians, a bouncy castle, ballpond cage and helter skelter. There would be a coffee bar and an area for teenagers with table tennis, pool, air hockey and internet access. The complex would be powered by solar panels and two wind turbines. There could be a floating platform for anglers and plenty of deck space screened from the wind. Mr Parish says there would be no need to extend the current pier superstructure. An illuminated walkway and viewing platform could run over the top of one or both domes.

Today’s pier is all that remains of Herne Bay’s third pier, which was once the second longest in the world. The Pier Trust, set up to rebuild the pier, needs new members.

HB Times 29th July 2010

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