Worrying pictures show how some of the legs holding up a popular pier are rusting away.
But engineers are set to be called in to carry out a full structural survey to discover the scale of the corrosion.
A report by Dover District Council (DDC) officers says Deal Pier’s legs have “deteriorated” over the past few years, with signs of rusting and the exposure of the “internal reinforcement bar”.
But it adds: “Whilst present concrete defects can make the structure look vulnerable, it is worth noting that it is the steel within the concrete that is doing most of the work.
“The concrete in this scenario adds a layer of protection to the steel against corrosion from its coastal environment.”
DDC’s cabinet is being asked to vote to order a new full structural survey at their meeting on Monday. A total of £75,000 has been set aside for 2023/24 for the project, including any necessary short-term repairs.
The report explains that structural engineers were called in to assess the pier in 2017.
But that did not include examining the supporting pier legs, cross beams or substructure beneath the lower deck. It was only for areas visually sighted and reached by existing platforms.
In 2017, the structure was already seen to have deteriorated. The exposed surfaces were found to have weathered and discoloured, although not more than expected for the landmark’s age.
As a result, from 2018 repairs were carried out to some of the concrete beams, south steps and supporting beams to the lower deck beneath the pier head.
Work overall was in two phases and added up to £600,000.
The report says: “It is self-evident that some of the supporting pier legs have deteriorated further with signs of rusting taking place along with exposure of the internal reinforcement bar.
“The initial survey picked this up and recommended a full structural survey in future years to ascertain the extent of deterioration and repairs.
“Consequently, it will be necessary to provide specialist scaffolding, marine vessels and safety boats to access such areas to conduct the surveys safely.”
The present Deal Pier is 1,026 ft (313 metres) long and the third built on the seafront since 1838.
The first was lost to decay and storm damage in 1857 and the second was destroyed by a ship accidentally crashing into it in 1940.
It took three years to construct the existing one and it was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in November 1957.
It is considered to be the town’s most iconic landmark and is internationally recognised as an angling venue.
The statue at the entrance, named Embracing the Sea, is three tonnes of bronze and was placed outside the entrance in 1998.
The pier, along with other parts of Deal plus Kingsdown, was a setting for the harrowing ITV crime drama Liar in 2017.
Investment has continued over the years, including the opening of a new-look cafe-bar in 2019.