This is how Herne Bay’s Victorian pier could look if a £70 million
plan to build a marina around the derelict old pier head goes ahead.
The ambitious scheme was unveiled last night by the Herne Bay Pier Trust
and would be the first of its kind in the country.
Members also announced a raft of short-term plans, which
include creating a beach hut village and restaurant on the existing
platform and to allow weddings on the pier.
Trust member Jason Hollingsworth, part of the group tasked with
finding ways to rebuild the pier, said the key was to make it
financially viable. He said:
“A heritage pier based on the past would be a lovely
idea but when you look at the economics, it is not going to happen.”
But he said the team had been speaking about the marina concept –
known as Kent Pier Marina – to trust fund managers who wanted long-term
investments for pension funds.
He said it would be an “attraction of national significance” and
could include hotels, an aquarium, conference facilities and boat trips. Mr Hollingsworth said:
“I am convinced the project can be
delivered and bring extensive benefits to Herne Bay and the wider area. There are investment opportunities for a private sector developer but the scheme will also need public sector funding.”
The marina would have 275 berths and, because it would be so far
out to sea, offer 24-hour berthing for sailors because it would not be
affected by tides. A road would run along the pier with parking for 150 cars at the end.
The marina was given the official stamp of approval in a
consultant’s report which concluded it was the best option for the
long-term future of the pier. The trust plans to publish the report and more details of the
scheme on a website to be launched next month and will then begin formal
More trustees are needed, particularly those with expertise in
law and fundraising. Those interested should send details to the Pier
Trust gallery in Central Parade, Herne Bay.