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We’re working hard to bring life to pier

Herne Bay Pier Trust is bidding for £50,000 funding from ITV Meridian’s People’s Millions programme
Herne Bay Pier Trust is bidding for £50,000 funding from ITV Meridian’s People’s Millions programme

In reply to the article last week about Ed Targett calling for a meeting about the pier (Pier Battle For TV’s People’s Millions, Herne Bay Gazette, November 20) Mr Targett did not have the courtesy to consult the Pier Trust about the date of the public meeting he has decided to call about the future of the pier. The first we heard about it was by e-mail on the same day your article announced it last week.

The date he has chosen could not be a worse one for the Pier Trust because he has chosen the night before our People’s Millions lottery voting day on ITV Meridian. All our trustees and volunteers will be busy putting up banners, posters and finalising the next day’s activities in our efforts to win £50,000 for the people of Herne Bay. As Mr Targett is Herne Bay’s Green Party MP candidate, I find it extraordinary that he says he is throwing his weight behind plans which clearly contradict his green aspirations to be our next MP. Nor can I believe that a group of barely a dozen people led by Mr Newell can seek to sidetrack the good intentions of the Pier Trust and its hundreds of supporters who were pleased to hear that our current petition to Downing St had over 1,000 votes in a few weeks.

It was the Pier Trust which commissioned the £10K Coffler Report in 2012 to explore the feasibility of building a manna at the end of the pier. This economically driven report supplied all the costings for such a scheme. The total cost of the rebuild and the marina came to £66 million. It also specifies the needs of the marina users — a mile-long road running up the pier to transport their equipment, a car park and petrol station within the marina. The safety issues for pedestrians walking along the pier are horrendous. To top this, the report said that to cover costs, the pier would need an unbelievable 750,000 visitors each year at £7.50 a head plus 30,000 residents paying £30 a year to use their own pier.
Experienced seamen and marine engineers advised us that 250 boat owners would not berth their boats a mile out at sea in winter storms, are just a few reasons the trust decided not to support this marina option. The trust has never blocked a marina development and any group who can find the funding for a marina in Herne Bay will have our full support.

We are exploring a possible alternative scheme to enable us to rebuild the pier. Energy companies are currently experimenting with new technology in Swansea to utilise turbines under their pier to harness sea-power. Solar panels along the roof of a long pier, the Thanet Way Solar Fann and the existing wind farm, could put Herne Bay on the map as one of the greenest towns in the country. The Pier Trust has already researched what local people want.

People have spoken already – they want a free pier, food, toilets, shelter, music and entertainment, specialist markets, children’s rides and shops. This is what the Pier Trust volunteers are working so hard to provide — we have already won several bids this year, £70,000 from Kent Community Foundation, £6,000 from the area panel and if you will phone in your votes for us on November 24 (number in Daily Mirror and on ITV Meridian) a further £50,000.
We are working openly and honestly to bring life to the pier as it is at the moment and we have a target of extending the pier to reach the pier head. In the meantime, we and the people of Herne Bay want a pier (currently an empty platform) to be an enjoyable and varied space which we are working hard to provide.

Doreen Stone
Chairman of the Herne Bay Pier Trust, Central Parade, Herne Bay

Herne Bay Gazette, November 27th 2014

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