Councillor slams “Crass” move to replace pier railings instead of preserving Southport’s heritage
A councillor who has led the fight to restore and regenerate Southport Pier has called for the promenade’s cast iron Victorian railings to be repaired rather than ripped out and replaced.
Cllr David Barton spoke out after it was revealed that £2 million of grant funding from the Coastal Communities Fund will allow Sefton Council to undertake a widespread refurbishment of the cast iron pier.
He said he was dismayed that there were plans to replace corroded railings along Marine Lake as part of the works and said that they should be restored as part of the town’s heritage.
Cllr Barton, who represents Dukes Ward, said he had originally raised the issue of the railings in the summer of 2015 and had liaised extensively with the then Minister of State for Communities and Local Government Mark François MP.
He said: “I am personally dismayed at any proposal to replace any of the corroded railings as they are a key part of Southport’s heritage having existed since 1882 when the North site was constructed.
“Given this is a Grade II site as listed by Historic England and a Conservation Area this quick fix solution despite seeming affordable from the outset id not the solution and should be revised to protect Southport’s Victoriana.
“Is it also fair to be replacing these original features as opposed to restoring them carefully when the various owners of the town’s Verandahs have made painstaking efforts in compliance with the planning law within the neighbouring Lord Street Conservation Area?”
Cllr Barton said he had previously agreed to and committed district funds for the segment of railings in his district and had requested that the job was done properly, even if that meant doing it in stages to preserve Southport’s Victoriana rather than “crassly replacing them with a replica.”
He added: “Whilst I welcome any support for Southport this must be objective and in-keeping with the town’s rich civic heritage otherwise this is double standards and defies the concept of having a Conservation Area status.
“The Southern railings which extend into my district also carry great civic pride for both local residents, especially families, and visitors who frequent the pier and appreciate Southport’s unique architecture, which is key to the town’s identity as a classic resort and should be duly respected as such.”
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