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‘GREEN PIER’ COULD EARN £500K A YEAR

Trust hears plans for barrage, lagoon and underwater turbines

THE FUTURE? One of Herne Bay architect Tim Sanderson's impressions of how a revamped pier could look
THE FUTURE? One of Herne Bay architect Tim Sanderson’s impressions of how a revamped pier could look

HERNE Bay could be taking a bold leap into the future if plans for a “green pier” come to fruition. The proposals were aired at last week’s annual general meeting of the Herne Bay Pier Trust and comprise a tidal lagoon, a barrage and underwater turbines that would capture the power of the tide and create energy. The presentation on how the green pier could operate was given by Andy Harvey, who is working with the trust on its development plans. The meeting was told that a “light-touch” feasibility study of tidal range showed it was possible for a lagoon to be established. It has been estimated that between £10 million and £15 million would be needed to create a barrage and lagoon.

Sustainable

It could, though, generate electricity valued at £500,000 a year, says Andrew Cook, a pier trustee, who also points out that European Union regulations demand at least 30 per cent of the project’s energy would have to come from sustainable sources. Theoretically, the barrage and lagoon system would be built and owned by an energy company, or alternatively by a government agency.

“A light-touch feasibility study has been carried out suggesting it could be done,” he said. “There would be an outlay of up to £15 million, but once in place I’m told it ‘could produce £500,000 a year through hydropower. There would be charge generated by the tide on the way in and on the way out. The lagoon would stop any potential problem with silting.”

And the money?

“Anything the trust can do to help get this up and running, we will do,” said Mr Cook. “Grants could help us get this moving.”

Members of the trust also learnt about architect Tim Sanderson’s ideas for the front of the pier. Brought up in the town, he told the meeting he had a childhood vision of how it could look.

“The ideas ticked a lot of the boxes in terms of design.”

said Mr Cook, who emphasised the optimism among trust members. Chairman Doreen Stone echoed the tone.

“The more we get done, the more we get taken seriously,” she said. “The trust is financially self-sufficient now and we raised more than £126,000 last year. The £50,000 we won from the People’s Millions, thanks to the people of Herne Bay, was for a canopy and we have good options for this as well.”

A big success last year was the pier’s retail kiosks. Twelve were filled and there was strong demand for more. To help grow the number, a £60,000 loan has been secured from Kent Community Foundation, which has also offered a £10,000 grant dependent on the signing of a 20-year lease for the pier platform (the tarmac area through the middle of the pier) with Canterbury City Council. A scheme gathering force is the establishment of a recording studio and stage area on the pier. Local musician Kris Searle, who built a music business in Los Angeles and has now returned to the town where he grew up, is heavily involved with this project with friend Carl Crane.

Herne Bay Times, March 4th 2015

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