Drone footage offers new views of Shotley pier as group receives £100,000 Co-operatives UK funding
- Credit: Matt Porter
Community efforts to save one of Suffolk’s historic piers have received a five-figure funding boost.
A charitable trust has offered to match fund the Shotley Pier Group, up to £100,000, towards its plans to buy, repair and renovate the Victorian pier opposite the Bristol Arms in the village.
The funding offer, made through the Co-op’s Power to Change Community Share Booster Programme, includes a further £5,000 development grant, and has been warmly welcomed by the group, which has a target of £350,000 to restore the 122-year-old pier.
It comes as a Suffolk drone pilot, Matt Porter, published footage of the pier, together with the nearby Admiralty Pier, which is not part of the group’s plans.
Sally Chicken, the group’s chairman, said she was “delighted” by the funding and thanked Babergh District Council for helping secure the offer.
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“The ultimate goal is to improve the shore area and deliver services for local people to meet charitable needs,” she added.
“It will help us provide a place for people to enjoy the outdoors in a stunning location, improve the environment, create employment and attract more visitors.”
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Under the scheme, people are invited to buy shares at £25 each which will be held by Co-operatives UK, a partner in the Community Shares Unit. For every community share sold, the group receives twice the amount.
Alice Wharton, programme manager at the Community Shares Unit, said: “The Booster Programme is a great opportunity for groups to develop an idea that can innovatively use community shares as a funding mechanism to develop, grow and sustain community businesses.”
Already the group has received pledges of more than £17,000. Further support has come from Babergh District councillor Derek Davis and Suffolk County councillor David Wood, who has made a £1,250 grant from his locality fund.
Originally built by the Marquis of Bristol for the ferry between Shotley and Harwich, the pier has been used to transport munitions and take sailors from the HMS Ganges training ship.
Plans for its future include kiosks, fishing opportunities and a walkway, which will be restored in Victorian style, looking out over the river Stour.
After watching Mr Porter’s video, Mrs Chicken said it helped highlight the “unique” perspective Shotley pier could offer visitors – its position in the mouth of the River Sour means it is possible to observe the workings of Harwich and Felixstowe ports.
“It was a pleasure to be able to see it from a different perspective,” she added
Mr Porter had recently taken footage of Felixstowe Pier, which is undergoing improvements, and said he was keen to use his technology to reveal intriguing features of the local landscape.
“I wanted to find something that would be interesting and also a challenge,” he added.
“A photograph can give one impressions but when you can fly over it offers a new perspective.”