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Hunt for new pier site as two sides part ways

Artist’s designs for how a new multi-million pound pier marina could look... If a site can be found
Artist’s designs for how a new multi-million pound pier marina could look… If a site can be found

Campaigners for the pier marina project have abandoned their plans for the existing pier and say they are looking for new sites for their ambitious scheme.

It follows nearly three years of wrangling with the Pier Trust and Canterbury City Council about the options to rebuild and regenerate the pier. But after a public meeting held at the Yacht Club on Sunday it became clear that there would be no agreement between the two sides. Andy Newell was formerly the senior figure of Pier Rebuild, which split from the Pier Trust in 2012 and has continued to champion a £70 million marina. He said:

Artist's impression of the pier marina
Artist’s impression of the pier marina

“Since our meeting on Sunday we have decided we are going to look at other options for where to build a pier marina. There is too much bitterness between us and the existing group on the pier stump to be honest.”

Andy Newell says the project is alive and well
Andy Newell says the project is alive and well

The meeting had been organised by Green Party parliamentary hopeful Ed Targett. He wanted a “robust” debate to see if there were any grounds for the two sides to go forward together. After the meeting, he said:

“It seems a bit of a shame that there would be two groups working on pier plans, but there doesn’t seem to be much chance of the two coming to agreement. I think everyone would like to let bygones be bygones and part ways amicably. I wish the Pier Trust the best of luck with their plans.”

The marina group believe they have found two potential new sites, including from Neptunes Arm by William Street and possibly in front of the Kings Hall. Mr Newell said:

“I’m absolutely keen to keep the project going. I think it is more alive now than it was before the meeting. We would still like to bring some aspects of the old pier for memory’s sake. It would be a place for major attractions for generations to come. We don’t want a pier that is just for the rich.”

Ed Targett says it’s a shame two sides can’t agree
Ed Targett says it’s a shame two sides can’t agree

The challenges will include analysing the water depth needed to create moorings for boats and yachts, without disturbing scientifically important sea life. Mr Newell added:

“It’s all going to be discussed in the future. I can’t say on my own where we go with the project in terms of designs.”

Mr Targett believes it will be a tough road ahead for the campaign. But he added:

“If it did happen I think it would be a massive attraction for the town and create a lot of jobs, so I’m going to put my thinking cap on about how to help try to take it forwards.”

Police swoop after gaffe

Police officers were called to the Kings Hall suspecting a break-in after 30 people arrived for the discussion about the piers future. The hail was supposed to have been booked by Green Party candidate Ed Targett. But in a gaffe he failed to submit the final booking form. He said:

“Some guests arriving early had found the top door unlocked and went In, triggering the alarm. The police joked they should nick us all just in case, as someone had earlier described the guests as including the town’s biggest yobs.”

Herne Bay Gazette, November 27th 2014

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