Seaside piers 'under threat'

The future of British piers are under threat because of poor management and corrosive sea water, a new report has found. The People's Piers report recommended taking piers into community ownership to safeguard their future.

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MP: Piers can be 'a real challenge'

The financing of piers can be "a real challenge" but they remain a "national asset", the former minister for tourism has said.

John Penrose, the MP for Weston-Super-Mare - an area famed for its pier - backed calls for them to be moved from private ownership into the hands of the local community.

For piers across the country, exposed at all times to sea and weather, there is a real challenge in meeting the high financial costs of upkeep and insurance.

I applaud the search for new solutions to our national assets that can harness the passion and commitment that comes with co-operative and community models.

– Coalition Minister for Tourism and Heritage until 2012, John Penrose

Piers 'trapped in a cycle' of neglectful ownership

Piers are "trapped in a cycle" of poor ownership which is not managing the upkeep of the popular seaside attractions, according to the author of a report on British piers.

In future, the raised structures should be looked after by the community in which the stand, says the report.

More people live by the seaside than live in Wales and 10 percent of our national heritage assets are within a mile of the sea.

Seaside piers make us smile. But too many piers are trapped in a cycle of neglectful ownership with only periodic attempts at conservation.

We believe that there is a new option, now being pioneered for Hastings Pier, which is to take piers into local community ownership.

– Author of the People's Piers report Jess Steele


Piers face uncertain future due to 'poor management'

Hastings pier was devastated by a fire on October 5th 2010, a day after redevelopment plans were invited. Credit: PA

Historic piers are under threat due to poor management, rising maintenance costs and rocketing insurance bills, new research has shown.

Sporadic conservation and neglectful ownership have left Britain's once prized seaside attractions on the verge of crumbling into the sea, said Jess Steele, the author of the People's Piers report.

Piers should be taken into community ownership in order to safeguard their future - as Hastings Pier is now - to protect them from corrosive sea water, owners who cannot provide for high maintenance and insurance costs.

There were 57 piers under threat in the UK, according to Miss Steele.

At present 56 percent of piers are privately owned, with 39 percent in local authority hands and 5 percent in community ownership, the report said.

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