Clacton pier must apply for licences for collapse repairs and clean-up
- Credit: Archant
Clacton Pier’s bosses and the town’s MP are working with government agencies to keep repairs on track.
A section of the pier collapsed on Valentines Day, between Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, during work to build the foundations of the newest rollercoaster, the Looping Star.
Owner Billy Ball and a team armed with diggers have been out at low tide every day since, clearing rubble and cables from the sea.
Bosses have said that while the collapse is a setback, almost all of the attractions will be open by Easter - including the new log flume.
However, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), formed in 2009 to regulate activity in British waters, have contacted pier bosses to say they require a licences to both clear the debris and repair the pier.
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Clacton MP Giles Watling has seen the extent of the damage to the pier first hand and is working to make sure Mr Ball can carry out repairs as soon as possible.
"I have sent a letter to the secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs because we do not want anything to hold up the work that needs doing," said Mr Watling.
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"My understanding was that the owners and operators of the pier are like the captain of a ship and they need the authority to carry out whatever needs doing to keep it running.
"I know the MMO have a job to do as well, I would just like to see the process expedited."
An MMO spokesperson said: "We are in discussion with representatives from Clacton Pier about the marine licensing requirements for repair work."
Mr Watling wrote to the secretary of state on Monday, with MMO staff visiting the following day.
Nigel Brown, communications manager for the pier, hopes this pace can be maintained to get works completed as soon as possible.
"It is disappointing that the Looping Star has been delayed but originally it was not planned to arrive until 2021," he said.
"It would have been a bonus to have a second new thrill ride but we are certainly not dependent on it - and we still expect that we will be able to top the one million visitor mark as planned this year."
Alex Porter, Tendring council cabinet member for leisure and tourism, wanted to reassure the community and those visiting Clacton they will still be able to have a summer holiday.
Mr Porter said: "Clacton Pier will still be a major draw for tourists to the area.
"Clacton, and the whole of the Essex sunshine coast, has a number of fantastic attractions, all of which mean Tendring is a top choice for visitors."