The sale of one of the world's oldest cast iron piers to a private company has been confirmed.
River transport firm Uber Boat by Thames Clippers has revealed it has bought the Gravesend Town Pier and pontoon from Gravesham Borough Council (GBC).
The new owners want to introduce a high-speed commuter river link from Gravesend to London – extending its operation from the capital into Kent for the first time.
It plans to establish the service in the next two to three years.
Co-founder and chief executive of Uber Boat, Sean Collins said: "We are thrilled to take ownership of this historic pier from Gravesham council.
"We will continue to appreciate its significance to the local community and will be investing in that community.
"We currently serve 24 other piers in the capital, five of which we own, manage and maintain ourselves.
"It is vitally important to us to maintain their heritage and make the piers sustainable for the future, ensuring the local communities can benefit from the river transport links that they provide."
No more details about the cost of the sale or the plans for the pier and services have been disclosed.
Leader of GBC Cllr John Burden, added: "I cannot think of better custodians to pass Town Pier on to; an established river operator with a track record of owning and operating piers along the Thames and whose plans for the future will help reconnect our town with the river that is so important to it.
"The sale guarantees continued public access to the pier and the future of the Tilbury Ferry.
"It also means the money needed to maintain the world’s oldest cast iron pier can now be redirected to support the essential services our residents and businesses expect and deserve."
The proposed deal was approved by cabinet members in January and was delegated to officers to finalise the sale.
Speaking at the time, Cllr Burden, said: "We have been looking at ways to secure its future in a way that benefits the whole community for some time.
"The sale to Thames Clippers safeguards this important community asset for future generations to admire and enjoy, while opening up new opportunities for strengthening Gravesend’s links to the River Thames.
"We have long-held aspirations to support river transportation from the town and while this sale does not guarantee rapid river links to London, it certainly makes their introduction more likely.
"We know Thames Clippers will be worthy and conscientious custodians of this important piece of Gravesend’s history."
The council decided to sell the asset as running costs continued to increase so it could redirect funding into essential services for the borough's residents.
Fears were raised earlier this year that the sale would lead to "a monopoly" and force out other business, but these were dismissed by GBC.
A reception is being held at the pier for residents to find out more details on Monday, November 21, at 6.30pm until 8pm.
You can RSVP to confirm attendance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The pier is Grade–II listed and is the oldest remaining cast iron pier of its kind in the world.