I think it’s sad that we have so many people in Herne Bay who are passionate about the future of our pier and yet seem unable to work together towards a viable long-term solution without squabbles, personal agendas, back-biting and political manoeuvnng clouding their thinldng (Pier’s Marina Plans Ditched, Herne Bay Gazette, November 27). Undoubtedly the Pier Trust has done a tremendous job of transforming the pier from the eyesore it was just a couple of years ago into what it is now; a more vibrant place and an attraction which people like to use and I know it’s not been an easy journey for the Pier Trust either, with Canterbury City Council seemingly dragging their heels delaying progress and creating obstacles to progress but you must give credit to The Pier Trust for what they have created so far.
Of course, we are all aware of the splinter group which believes the future success of the pier rests in a large marina complex but sadly are unable to put their point across without resorting to personal attacks and a vitriolic response to almost any criticism or suggested alternative. The Pier Trust are also no strangers to a bit of back-biting themselves, perhaps not so publicly, but currently they seem to be telling anyone and everyone that will listan that the marina idea is a no-go because it would be, and I quote, “a mile out to sea”. I shouldn’t have to remind anyone involved that Southend Pier is a magnificent 134 miles long (and a very popular attraction) and Herne Bay pier was once 1.1 miles long in its heyday. A marina a mile out to sea doesn’t sound like a reason for not doing it to me?
Yes there may be a plethora of other reasons a marina may not be viable but the fact is, we just don’t know at this stage as all we seem to have is rumour, hypotheses and the opinion of some people who’s closest experience to boating is a cross-Channel ferry. We need facts. What we do know is that Herne Bay Pier has the potential to be a fantastic centre-piece for the town which would draw-in visitors from across London, the South East and near continent, benefiting the local economy way beyond any other projects currently on the drawing board. The pier must form a key and integral part of any Herne Bay regeneration plan long-term and for that Canterbury City Council must also accept some responsibility and ultimately be accountable for the piers future.
This then is a public appeal to all those people, groups and factions who have the pier’s current operations and future strategy high on their agendas: stop the confrontation, stop the back-biting, renting and personal attacks, put-aside old feuds, stop dismissing ambitious ideas without proper fact-based consideration and open your minds to working together towards a common goal. Channel the negative energy that exists into pusitivity and behave like grownups, understand that same people may have different views to yours but understand that they’re perfectly entitled to them. Agree a common long-term goal of making Herne Bay Pier a sustainable, financially viable attraction for both visitors and locals alike and, once you’ve done that, start working together on tactical projects and initiatives which work towards the common goal.
If the pier were a school playground, heads would be banged together but it’s not, it’ss a vital part of the town’s future prosperity so put aside your differences and sad history and work together to make good things happen. I’m sure squabbles about the pier and its future make great headlines but I can’t be alone in finding the whole sorry story is getting just a little boming whilst opportunity after opportunity passes us by.
Nigel Hancock, Herne Bay for Business
Herne Bay Gazette, December 4th 2014