VIDEO: First glimpse of £22m vision for Skegness Pier to be returned to its former glory
and live on Freeview channel 276
The consultation process that would see the iconic 19th century attraction return to its former glory at a total estimated cost of £22,353,895 million has begun - and new owners the Mellors Group need your views to help them bid for funding and attract investment.
Initial proposals by Leonard Design Architects would see the current entrance replaced with a 'revived commercial gateway' that would be 'quirky and idiosyncratic'.
Along the promenade, that would stretch to nearly 600m, would be landscaped strips to represent the 'Wild Coast' and encourage a return to 'promenading'.
The pier head would feature a Geodesic Dome structure tea room as well as environmental visitor attraction, funfair. There could also be boat trips.
Mellors Group have wasted no time in bringing in the experts to create a "vision for the 21st century".
It's just two months since the company, who also own Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells, re-opened the attraction following £2million investment at both locations.
Having decided to extend the length of the pier from its current 118m to its original 582m, public opinion is now needed to see if the public agree with the proposals already put forward. Other ideas are also being welcomed.
The ambition to regenerate and restore the iconic attraction will see a modern approach, with a carbon neutral, environmental responsible design that complements the resort's green agenda and use reclaimed materials responsibly sourced.
Finance director for the Mellors Group Clare Draper said the overall cost will be determined by the final design and the consultation and Stakeholder events being held over the coming weeks would help the company shape the vision and attract investment and grants.
She said: "It's been our plan from day one. It's the dream isn't it to purchase Skegness Pier and extend the pier deck to its former glory.
"It was always in the pipeline - we've just pushed those plans forward sooner than expected.
"The overall cost will depend on the facilities and attractions that will eventually find their way onto the pier whether that is on the deck itself or on the pier head.
"We want it to be sustainable, environmentally friendly and there are lots of elements we still need to factor into the costings.
"We need to hear from everyone with an interest in the future of Skegness Pier and ask them to complete the questionnaire on the Skegness Pier website."
Much of Skegness Pier - opened on Whit Monday on 4 June 1881 by the Duke of Edinburgh Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at a cost equivalent to £2.3 million - was destroyed in a storm in 1978. Few local people who can remember it in its heyday ever imagined seeing it being rebuilt.
One of them is Chas Tibble, secretary of Skegness Pier Angling Club, who attended the first Stakeholders meeting at the new Player at the Pier bar on Friday, and remembers fishing there before the pier head was destroyed.
He said: "I fished regularly until 1978 when it was in its full glory and it was a fabulous place to fish.
"When you got to the end the pier head was a t-shape with a three-story tall theatre with a coastguard station on top, there was a bar a cafe, and also a sun lounge with a band stand.
"It's absolutely fantastic to hear it could be extended. I was really pleased when the Mellors Group bought it - you can see already the difference they have made.
"They seem very positive about the future of the pier and have some very good ideas.
"I never thought it would happen but it seems to be now."
Also present at the meeting were MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman, East Lindsey District Council leader Coun Craig Leyland , Vice-chairman of the Connected Coast Town Bid Chris Baron, representatives of the Lincolnshire Coastal Destination BID and the Environment Agency. and the Mayor of Skegness, Coun Trevor Burnham.
Mr Warman commented: "It's great to see people who have real ambition for the coast and have the assets of Skegness Pier in mind to do even more for the coast.
"It is a fantastic asset as it is but there is so much potential to go even further with this bid."
Coun Leyland said: "This is excellent news. We have seen a big business coming into Skegness with plans for the pier to return it to its former glory.
"This will be a fantastic for the district and Lincolnshire as well as Skegness businesses and the wider economy."
Nicola McGarry, Lincs Coastal Destination BID Manager, who was also at the meeting, said: "This is such an aspirational and exciting time for Skegness and our coastline as a whole.
"A huge amount of funding, investment and development is happening in the next couple of years and how better to enhance all of this with this amazing project to extend Skegness Pier, the timing is just perfect."
All of this exciting activity can only bring a ripple effect of benefit to all of the businesses within the area and everyone can enjoy the positive outcome these projects could potentially bring’.’
To have your say on the future of Skegness Pier visit https://skegnesspier.co.uk/skegness-pier-future/* For the full story and reaction, see next week's print edition of the Skegness Standard newspaper, out on Wednesdays.
For details of Stakeholder events, read also Skegness Pier to be extended to original length in exciting plans announced today