Southport Pier: Heated row breaks out over sale of boards from iconic pier

A timber yard is advertising the sale of hardwood boards 'salvaged from the world famous Southport Pier'
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A row has broken out and there are calls for an investigation into the sale of wooden boards removed from Southport Pier as the iconic landmark undergoes structural repairs.

The pier boards were previously being advertised for sale by Lawson Yard as ‘reclaimed hardwood boards’ from the ‘world famous Southport Pier’. The product page added: “Beautiful silvered and weather beaten surface from the salty air and literally hundreds of thousands of feet walking up and down the full 1.1miles of it.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, as of Tuesday, any specific mention of Southport Pier has been deleted from the Lawson’s Yard web page with only the URL title indicating the previous sales copy.

The iconic Southport Pier is one of Britain’s longest-standing pleasure piers, but was closed by Sefton Council for safety reasons in 2022. Since then Sefton Council has been working to resolve long-standing structural issues and establish a workable plan to re-open the pier. One of the priorities has been to establish the full scale of the problems and what works and finances will be needed.

Cllr John Pugh, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Southport’s Dukes ward, said news of the wood from the pier being sold has made him 'very angry' and accused Sefton Council of acting 'with customary secrecy'.

He said: “The current administration have tried to give the impression that the whole pier is as rotten as a pear and to present the necessary repairs as too awesome to contemplate in current circumstances. It is apparent that much of the wood can be repurposed, restored and reused. Even the areas that have been exposed by Sefton’s own investigations show large areas of the sort of sound wood that we’d all have to pay good money for at B&Q.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He added: “Sefton are intent on fighting a propaganda war to justify their own inertia. One moment they are telling us it’s fundamentally unsafe, next minute they’re inviting crowds of college students along it to look at the worst bits. One moment they are telling us the woods rotten, next minute they‘re selling it on.”

Sefton Council’s leadership have accused Cllr Pugh of “petty political nonsense” and insisted that while the wood is not safe to be walked on, there may be alternative uses for the timber involved.

Boarding at Southport Pier. Image: LDRSBoarding at Southport Pier. Image: LDRS
Boarding at Southport Pier. Image: LDRS

The present state of the pier has attracted huge interest amongst local residents who are keen to see the pier re-open due to it’s vital importance to the town’s economy and leisure and tourism offer.

However, in another blow to the area, a report published at the end of 2023 detailed a catalogue of problems with the decking and structural steel, which will cost approximately £13m to put right. As a result, Sefton’s Labour Council have been clear the borough does not have the finances to meet these costs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Any news relating to the pier tends to attract strong opinions and the latest row over the sale of pier boarding is no exception.

Responding to Cllr Pugh’s statement, Cllr Christine Howard, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “It is profoundly disappointing that after we repeatedly said that we’re willing to work with everyone to refurbish Southport Pier, we’re still having to address petty political nonsense.

“Independent experts have clearly documented the need to temporarily close the pier and subsequently remove unsafe and decayed decking from the structure. While the used boards are simply not safe for thousands of people to walk on, there may be alternatives uses for that timber, with obvious financial and environmental benefits to its repurposing. The alternative is the timber going to landfill.

“They categorically cannot be reused for the pier restoration project and any suggestion to the contrary suggests a lack of understanding of the matter and a failure by the councillor to review the surveys and other information that we have openly shared.

The sun sets over Southport pier. Image: robin - stock.adobe.comThe sun sets over Southport pier. Image: robin -
The sun sets over Southport pier. Image: robin -
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The irony of being wrongly accused of a lack of transparency, while also lamenting our desire to use these works as a beneficial learning experience for local engineering students to advance their studies, particularly as we look to promote careers for women in the construction sector, is not lost on me. If people want to find out more about the ongoing Pier project they can visit I’d encourage the ward councillor to do the same.”

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “Any used boards being removed because they are not safe for thousands of people to walk on, but can be put to alternative use by recycling rather than simply sent to landfill, are being used to deliver those financial benefits as well as environmental ones. Any savings like this that can be made at this stage of the work can be ploughed back into the Pier’s refurbishment in the long term.”

Lawson’s Yard were also approached for comment.