More than 56 miles of decking boards will be used on the refurbishment of Southport Pier, the same distance as travelling from the resort to Stoke!
Southport’s 160-year-old Grade II listed Pier could be set for a significant upgrade in the coming months if up to £3 million for new decking is approved.
Since its construction in 1860, Southport Pier has been the focal point of the town’s seaside heritage. It has been visited by Charlie Chaplin, stopped at by steamers and was used as a base for searchlights during the Second World War.
And over those 160-plus years exposed to corrosive rain, wind and salt spray, Southport’s pier has, like all traditional seaside piers, required numerous repair and refurbishment.
At their meeting next week, Sefton Council’s Cabinet will be asked to provisionally approve up to £3 million to replace the wooden decking along the Pier’s whole 1.1km length. If agreed, the work could begin in late 2022.
Such is the scale of the planned works, more than 56 miles of decking boards will be used in the refurbishment, which is the same distance as the crow flies from Southport to Stoke.
Once approved at Cabinet, full council approval for the works will then need to be sought prior to any works being undertaken.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Skills, said: “Like many incredible open-air coastal structures, Southport Pier is affected by the constant powerful effects of nature.
“That plus the wear from the many thousands of people who enjoy walking along Britain’s second longest pier means large-scale works like we are proposing are needed to preserve the structure for generations of the future to enjoy.”
Repairs to the Pier date back to as early as 1890 and during its long history it has fallen victim to incredibly powerful storm damage, boat crashes and numerous fires in the 19th and 20th century. In 2018, extensive repairs and repainting works were carried out by Sefton Council to the Pier’s steelwork to combat corrosion from the sea.
Cllr Atkinson added: “By replacing the decking boards in their entirety, we are protecting the structure for generations to come.
“Southport’s iconic pier is by no means cheap to look after but it is cherished by all of us in Sefton and by the town’s many visitors so I don’t think anyone could argue against providing it with this vital care.”