Pier restoration delays continue while Council awaits damage report

4th August 2023
Southport pier is one of the longest and oldest of its kind in the country. Image by Martin Maynard CC 4.0

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills has stated the council remains committed to the restoration of Southport Pier, despite a lack of visible progress.

Southport Pier was “temporarily” closed in December after cold weather revealed significant structural damage, with Sefton Council later confirming that £13m worth of repairs were necessary.

At a full Council meeting on 13 July, Labour councillors voted against opposition motions that would have committed the Council to funding the repairs. Labour have expressed their dedication to restoring Southport Pier but insisted on waiting for the comprehensive structural report before committing financial resources.

Sefton Council confirmed on Friday that the structural assessment has not yet been received, nor does an estimate exist for when it might arrive.

The contents of the report were, however, informally reported to the Council a number of weeks ago, leading to the £13m estimate. The report is expected to say that significant portions of the decking require replacement.

Between the December 2022 closure and learning of the estimated £13m repair bill, Sefton had earmarked £3m for Pier maintenance. Only a small amount of repair work was conducted before the full extent of the damage was revealed.

A Council spokesperson confirmed to OTS News: “We are proactively engaging as per the recommendations of the cabinet report”.

Sefton Council say that they don’t expect the structural report “to add anything to the headline details that have already been discussed”.

Freedom of information requests submitted by OTS News revealed today (Friday) that Sefton spent £3.2m maintaining and improving Southport Pier between financial years 2017 to 2023, receiving £560,000 in rent during the same period from properties attached.

Speaking on behalf of the Southport Conservative Group, Councillor Tony Brough said: “Sefton’s Labour Group invest millions for Bootle Strand – but have nothing for Southport Pier”.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “We have been completely open and transparent about the huge task we face to refurbish Southport Pier.

“While we have yet to receive the final structural survey report regarding Southport Pier, we are not resting on our laurels.

“As per the recommendations recently set out by Sefton Council’s Cabinet we are already proactively engaging with potential funders and stakeholders who may be in a position to offer additional support.

“We know its importance emotionally, economically and historically. That’s why we continue to take action to secure its future for another 160 years.

“Our commitment is as clear and unequivocal as it can be.

“We want a refurbished pier and we will do all we can to work with whoever we need to, to get to that position.”