'Extensive' works to begin on Southport Pier almost a year after closure

The 160-year-old structure has been closed for safety reasons by the Sefton Council since December.

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Works are set to begin on Southport Pier almost a year after its initial closure.

Contractors will be on-site from Monday, November 20, to begin 'extensive exploratory and investigative' works, which Sefton Council say will 'ultimately guide the larger refurbishment project'.

Civil engineers A E Yates have been appointed by the council and a tender for the full scheme is due to be issued within the next two weeks.

The 160-year-old structure has been closed for safety reasons by the local authority since December, after extreme weather accelerated the current issues within the pier.

The council has spent more than £3m maintaining and fixing issues with Southport Pier since 2016 but announced in June that it would remain closed until major refurbishments took place. The Council says it needs ‘sufficient funding for major work to make it safe to re-open, and for ongoing maintenance thereafter’.

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.

Local business owners say their livelihoods are being negatively impacted by the closure, however, the Council say it is closed on health and safety grounds.

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

In September, Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills 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.

The exploratory phase is expected to last until mid-February next year and will involve a significant section of the Pier's damaged decking removed as well as further assessments of the integrity of the structures steel and iron columns. 

Sefton Council say the 'aim remains to be ready to start the works as soon as possible after the required funding is secured' adding: "We strongly believe that a nationally significant heritage asset such as this should have national funding allocated for both the project and the ongoing maintenance thereafter."