Southport Pier will remain closed as council ‘simply don’t have the kind of money’ needed for repairs

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Southport Pier has been closed since December and repair works could exceed £13m.

Southport Pier will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to lack of funds for costly repair work.

The 160-year-old structure has been closed for safety reasons by Sefton Council, after extreme weather in December last year accelerated the current issues within the pier.

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It is estimated the full repairs works required to ensure the pier can open safely again could exceed £13m, with over 14 miles of ‘severely decayed’ decking and further issues with the pier’s steelwork.

The council has spent more than £3m maintaining and fixing issues with Southport Pier since 2016 but say it now needs ‘sufficient funding for major work to make it safe to re-open, and for ongoing maintenance thereafter’.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills said ‘we inherited a structure that was flawed’ due to ‘poor workmanship commissioned in 2000’.

She explained: “The contractor in 2000 used the wrong screws and wrong wood as well as failing to renew the steelwork and fixings correctly resulting in the failure of the coating system and corrosion of the underlying steelwork shortly after reopening.” Despite the council winning its case against the contractor, the company went into liquidation.

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Cllr Atkinson said the council has a ‘clear plan’ for the more than £13 million of work that’s expected to be needed to take place, but added ‘we simply don’t have that kind of money’ due to Government funding cuts.

Southport Pier. Image: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)Southport Pier. Image: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
Southport Pier. Image: Wikimedia Commons (public domain) | Wikimedia

Effect on local businesses

Cllr Atkinson said a solution has not yet been secured but the council is ‘working hard to champion the pier, and to ensure that the project is ready to start once funding is secured’.

She added that the council is ‘of course concerned’ about the pier’s closure on local businesses and traders, but added they have had their rents fully suspended.

She continued: “Additionally, we have offered multiple alternative sites as a temporary second home to allow for continued trading alongside their other ongoing business operations. We have been informed by those concerned however that this is not of interest to them.”

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However, some local business owners believe the council should ‘take responsibility’ saying it had ‘made a lot of mistakes’ in the way the pier’s upkeep had been managed.

Southport Pier, 2006.Southport Pier, 2006.
Southport Pier, 2006. | Getty Images

Future of Southport Pier

Sefton Council has ‘repeatedly gone on record’ to say it is not prepared to consider the loss of the pier, which is one of the last surviving in the country.

A spokesperson for the council said it is ‘proactively engaging with various external stakeholders and potential funders in respect of the pier and its future’.

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