Concern growing for Gorleston pier

FEARS have been raised this week that Gorleston pier could be closed to the public if its condition continues to deteriorate.

The pier car park controversially shut almost two years ago because the uneven surface made it unsafe.

Concern is growing that pedestrians may be barred from the popular fishing and wave watching spot.

Mercury reader Alan Smith took pictures this week of gaping holes and surface damage to the pier, which is owned by outer harbour operators EastPort.

He said: “Just how long will it be before we won’t be allowed on the pier and it gets closed to the public altogether? Recently when I visited I noticed that there were a couple of holes in the concrete which had been fenced off.

“This week it’s so bad that all of the right-hand side has now got barrier rails on it. How long will it be before the two entrances get closed permanently?

“First it was the car park which people loved to go to, now it seems to be the end of the pier show.”

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Local residents and businesses mounted a spirited campaign to reopen the car park after the gates were shut in June 2009.

Closing the car park was blamed for causing traffic chaos on Gorleston seafront during the busy holiday season and traders losing custom.

Local historian Dennis Durrant launched a petition campaign, including one on the Prime Minister’s website calling for the car park to be bought back into use.

He said: “I am worried the pier could be closed completely, it is in the worst condition I have known.

“It seems EastPort never wanted the public on the pier.

“The first excuse for closing the car park was that there were travellers on there, then it was not safe. The next thing is people will not be able to walk there.

He added: “The pier is becoming an eyesore, when it should be one of the town’s prime assets. It is a prominent feature in a conservation area so something should be done to maintain its appearance.

“Gorleston has become an increasingly popular place to visit in the last decade.

“Shops and businesses complain people keep driving round and round in the summer because they cannot find anywhere to park.”

Mr Durrant said there was no response to his freedom of information request several years ago asking the borough council to reveal if the pier had serious structural problems.

The Mercury contacted EastPort for a response but by the time we had gone to press they had not replied.