�800k for pier repairs

ALMOST �800,000 worth of repairs will be made to Clevedon Pier to protect it for many years to come.

The Grade I-listed pier is in need of maintenance work to prevent deterioration of its structure and North Somerset Council is due to agree next week to provide more than �650,000 toward the scheme.

The work will cost �797,601, of which the council plans to pay �657,601 from its 2012/13 and 2013/14 capital contingency fund if agreed at a meeting of its executive on Tuesday. The remaining amount will be covered by the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust’s reserves.

While the council has no policy to support the pier, it helps pay for maintenance work to prevent the full responsibility of the structure falling into its hands, which could happen if a lack of financial support forced the trust to surrender its lease back to the council.

The Clevedon Pier Trust was leased the pier for 99 years from 1985 for a peppercorn rent, after which it was rebuilt and renovated.

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Since then, it has been operated as a going concern making an annual profit. However, this does not cover the cost of the maintenance works which have to be carried out every 15-20 years.

In 2005/06, the council provided a �328,000 grant, but this only covered part of the work identified. An assessment of outstanding work was carried out in September and tenders were invited for the project, which will see the pier’s ironwork repaired and repainted to prevent it from rusting.

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It is hoped once a new visitor centre is created at the pier, this will enable the trust to contribute substantially more toward the cyclical maintenance costs.

The trust is carrying out a range of fundraising schemes this year and has also made an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for the new facilities, which will include toilets and a tea room.

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