Published: 12:17, 23 May 2019
| Updated: 12:54, 23 May 2019
Ambitious multi-million-pound plans to extend Herne Bay Pier beyond Neptune’s Arm have been revealed.
The trust that runs the seaside landmark is hoping to receive financial backing to build another platform, which could house a music venue or “fantastic restaurant”.
Pier bosses expect bids for grant funding to be submitted over the next two years.
Town centre councillor Andrew Cook, a Herne Bay Pier Trust member, says the landmark is filled to capacity during peak months.
“At the moment the pier is full,” he said.
“We want to extend it by about 50% so that it goes past Neptune’s Arm.
“There’s a host of things that could be there, like a fantastic restaurant or we could move everything that’s already on the pier further towards the end.
“We’re also looking at all sorts of interesting attractions to go there, even boat rides from Whitstable to Herne Bay – we just need the funding.”
Bosses believe the plans will cost between £3m and £5m - and it could take about four years for the work to take place, if they receive the funding.
Trust chairman Doreen Stone has met with engineers from Canterbury City Council to discuss the viability of an extension.
She will also hold meetings with the trusts of other piers across the country to talk about the plans.
Cllr Cook insists the trust continues to harbour ambitions of building a 300-boat marina on the seafront.
Council chiefs decided two years ago that the authority would not fund the project, deeming it too expensive and risky.
“It’s still on our wish list,” Cllr Cook said. “It would be sustainable. The only problem we’ve got with it is getting the money.”
However, he says plans to extend the pier to its abandoned head have been shelved.
Cllr Cook believes it would be “unviable”, adding that work to preserve the rundown structure is already too expensive.
The old pier, built in 1895, was once the second longest in the country – stretching out more than 3,700 ft.
During the Second World War its centre was blown up to prevent enemy landings.
It was later replaced by two temporary bridges, but its head was left stranded after storms in the 1970s caused them to collapse.
The pier has also received a grant of £50,000 for solar panels from the Coastal Revival Fund.
“We probably won’t put them on there until September or October time because the work could disturb the traders,” Cllr Cook added.
“It’s been verified that we’re in the running for another similar grant for more solar panels going forward which we will hopefully receive.
“We want 80% of our energy to be green.”