December 13 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The decision to close a north Suffolk pier has been branded disappointing by campaigners calling for it to be reopened.
The seaward end of Lowestoft’s South Pier has been fenced off beyond the RNLI building by owner Associated British Ports (ABP) amid fears over public safety.
The South Pier was popular with anglers and the only place in Lowestoft that was easily accessible for disabled sea fishermen. It was also an attraction for holidaymakers and town residents.
Anglers are now calling for access to be restored and are holding a meeting at the Jolly Sailors pub in Pakefield tonight at 7.30pm to consider their options.
Their concerns are echoed by national organisation the Angling Trust, which has written to ABP calling for a rethink, and nearby business owners, who fear the closure of the pier, coupled with the erosion of south beach, will damage trade.
Lowestoft angler Steve Whybrow, who has organised the meeting, said: “It is not just about anglers. Lowestoft is losing a landmark. It provides disabled access for fishermen and is popular with photographers and birdwatchers.”
Dennis Saggers, who runs The Beach Hut food court on Royal Plain, added: “Losing the pier is another factor in the demise of the resort. It is just the way it has been going for the last 10 years.”
Waveney District Council had leased the pier since 1993 but decided not to renew it when it expired at the end of September, saying the renewal could not be “justified financially”.
A spokesman for Waveney and ABP said the decision to close the pier until further notice was prompted by concerns over the ongoing costs of maintenance and public liability insurance.
Bob Blizzard, prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, was leader of the district council when it first took on the lease. He said the pier had been closed for some time prior to that.
“I find it really sad and disappointing that it has been closed off again,” he said. “I thought it was a great move forward when we got access all those years ago.
“I wonder where Lowestoft is going. We have lost the air show, the carnival and now the pier.”
Businesses at the landward end of the pier are unaffected by the closure.