Bid to break deadlock over historic pier's future
PUBLISHED: 19:11 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:11 29 August 2018
Opposing shareholders of Shotley pier are due to meet to discuss a potential compromise after a fiery planning meeting last week ended in the plans being refused.
More than 400 shareholders came together to buy the pier earlier this year.
But since then they have been divided by what should be done to restore it, which led to a fierce debate and the eventual refusal of plans to add a new visitor centre and workshop.
The two sides will now try to find a way to incorporate the Victorian style of the original pier, as well as the developments that could provide funding to keep it maintained.
Shareholder Derek Davis, an objector to the recent plan and local business promoter, said: “They are sensible people and so are we. It’s a shame it has come to this because we overcame funding problems and gained the support of Babergh council.
“Hopefully we can reach an agreement that works for both us and them.”
A letter from fellow objector Richard Lingard, on behalf of the nearby marina, sailing club and pub, said that a revised application could be reached but that current buildings proposed were too large and too expensive.
Mr Davis added: “Our proposal is to restore a Victorian pier, with traditional lamps, benches, room for fishing from the end and potentially kiosks to generate an income - we have been saying the same thing for years.
“The shareholders were first sold the dream of that pier, not a commercial development with parking problems and detrimental effects to the community.”
Opposing shareholder, Shotley Pier group chairman John Davitt, said: “The pier directors are willing to meet the commercial organisations operating near the pier to hear their thoughts on a way forward.”
The proposed buildings, a workshop and visitors centre, which would provide income to maintain the pier, were proposed on decking alongside the existing pier.
Mr Davitt added: “After extensive consultation last year, people said they wanted to stroll on the pier free of charge have somewhere to shelter in bad weather, which our visitor shelter is designed for.”