Pier boss: ‘We’re bucking the trend’

Blackpool's Central Pier is not at risk say the owners.
Blackpool's Central Pier is not at risk say the owners.
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The boss of two of the town’s most recognisable structures claims the resort is bucking the worrying national trend of declining piers.

A study by the trade association Co-operatives UK has revealed some of Britain’s oldest seaside piers are at risk from rising maintenance and insurance costs and “trapped in a cycle of neglectful ownership with only periodic attempts at conservation.”

Co-operatives UK’s People’s Piers study said the majority of piers were under threat from both corrosive sea-water and owners who failed to make provisions for maintenance costs and insurance.

But Michael Williams, managing director of Six Piers – the owner of Blackpool’s Central and South piers – says those affected by decline are the piers which are rarely 
visited.

He said: “Some of the piers deteriorating are in towns where footfall has declined.

“From our point of view in Blackpool, numbers have started to improve and the amount of people coming here over the bank holiday weekend was exceptional.

“We have people of all ages and families visiting the piers who come here for our shows and attractions.

“There’s something across the three piers that appeals to everyone.”

Swanage Pier in Dorset, East Sussex Pier and Hastings Pier are some of the structures which required help funding bodies to save them from further neglect, according to the People Piers report.

Mr Williams says the Blackpool attractions are exempt from the study’s claims because they are all well maintained with more work due to be carried out this week.

He added: “A lot of what goes on at the piers is under the deck with the steel work but people don’t necessarily see this behind the scenes.”

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