Hopes for Gorleston pier repairs

PRESERVATIONISTS hoping for improvements at Gorleston’s weather-ravaged pier say they are heartened by recent repairs and the ambition of port chiefs to do more.

Members of START and the West Quay Group, who are pushing for action, met with port boss Eddie Freeman for a walk about on the structure, which has been jutting out to sea and facing the elements since the 1960s and looks old beyond its years.

Margaret Ward, chairman of heritage group START, said that although the pier was a source of local frustration, a flurry of activity including pressure washing the concrete surface had made a difference.

She said the meeting was “very useful and constructive”, adding: “I feel that they want to make a positive effort to make the place more user friendly and accessible. I am certain they do not want to be difficult.

“The port is under tremendous attack, but Eddie Freeman is trying to be co-operative. The area is just so vast and trying to do anything with it is hard.”

Mr Freeman said he was anxious to “find a fix” and had made some improvements.

“They made one or two recommendations which we are happy to adopt because they are not too onerous, and they were also heartened to see that we had been pressure washing and painting. We do have a plan about how we want to go forward and they seemed to be fairly happy.”

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He had relented over the future of a vandal-magnet shelter which was going to be pulled down but instead will be overhauled after he saw a couple using it to have their lunch. “We will see what the season brings,” he said.

“The pier creaks and groans all of the time like most do. Storm damage has moved the slabs and we have been looking at it with our engineers. We will re-concrete the area that is fenced off and make that good.

“It is very typical of concrete piers all over the country. They have to deal with all the elements and take a lot of beating. It does look a shade better and will look better still when we have finished.

“The bottom line is that doing it is one thing but maintaining it is another.”

The pier, although still popular with fisherman and boat watchers, is widely regarded as an eyesore with many including Gorleston champion Dennis Durrant saying it should be an asset.