Plans for a futuristic £70 million pier marina have been presented by the Pier Trust rebuild group.
Members have been told city pension fund managers are already interested in the proposal, which has attracted a world-class team of advisors, including internationally-renowned architects Aedas.
Jason Hollingsworth, from the charity’s rebuild group, said the project would “stimulate major regeneration in Herne Bay and inject approximately £18 million into the local economy each year”.
He spoke at the group’s AGM – which saw two proposals for the future of the pier presented, including a short-term plan to put 13 retail beach huts on the pier platform at a cost of £40,000 and the long-term rebuild strategy of a pier marina.
The report by consultants Collier’s International features a luxury hotel at the marina end of the pavilion and a mid-range hotel at the land end.
A harbour rock wall protecting the marina has been designed to protect vessels inside the marina against a one-in-200 year weather event.
Former Pier Trust chairman Graham Cooper told members at the meeting at Herne Bay Junior School that the concept, if built, would be a visitor destination of national significance, a seaborne tourist gateway to Canterbury and generate annual returns of 11% on investment - injecting £18 million per year into the Bay’s economy.
Mr Cooper said the proposal has attracted an impressive team of advisors, including Colliers International, Aedas and civil engineering firm Dean & Dyball.
"we’re not out to put objects in their way. i’d hand over the pier tomorrow if they got the funds, as it is costing us money to maintain it" – city council boss john gilbeyHe said: “We’re talking to pension fund managers from the city; they’re looking for long-term investments as the gilts market is low and likely to stay that way.”
The proposal from the Collier Report, which was only given to the Pier Trust and the rebuild group two weeks ago, was described by chairman Doreen Stone as “the first chance for the trust to put forward the findings of the report.”
She said: “The two priorities are finding investors and putting it out to a public consultation run by the Trust.”
City council boss John Gilbey, who attended the meeting, said: “Good luck to them.
"We’re not out to put objects in their way. I’d hand over the pier tomorrow if they got the funds, as it is costing us money to maintain it.
“Match-funding that kind of money is not going to be easy but if private investors want to come and put their money where their mouths are, good will to them.
"Looking briefly at the report it looks like it is at the pre-feasibility stage and that proposal would have to be accepted by the board before it is accepted by the Trust. But good luck to them.”
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