Extravagant plans to give an iconic seaside attraction a £4 million makeover have been revealed.
Doreen Stone, the chair of the Herne Bay Pier Trust, is hoping to receive financial backing to extend the pier by building a new walkway and platform.
This will be the first stage of long-term plans to attach the landmark to its abandoned head, which was cut off after storms caused severe damage in the late 1970s.
“We haven’t decided how far the extension will go, but we’ve been talking about getting halfway towards the old part,” Ms Stone explained.
“We can’t really manage to get all the way to the abandoned head yet, but it is the overall ambition of the pier trust to get out to where it used to be.
"We were once the second longest pier in the country and we’d love to be the longest this time around.”
Ms Stone says the trust will hold a public consultation to decide what should be housed on the extension.
She will submit a bid for “millions” of pounds to the Coastal Communities Fund over the next two years.
“I’ll also look into getting funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund because if the old foundations are still in the pier it’d mean we could restore it,” Ms Stone added.
“There’s an awful lot of feeling in Herne Bay that this is what we should do and we’ve virtually finished everything we’ve wanted to do on the existing pier.
“These plans for the extension will take a couple of years because I’ve got to find the funding. I think we’ll be looking for at least £4 million for the first stage.”
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 1978 and 1979 caused them to collapse.
Ms Stone is waiting to learn whether the pier has been successful in its bid to receive £50,000 for solar panels from the Coastal Revival Fund.
Having submitted the proposal several months ago, she expects to hear the news in September.
Ms Stone says this would set in motion plans to install more renewable energy technology on the pier and help Herne Bay become “one of the greenest seaside towns” in the country.
“If we get the money, the solar panels would go in next year,” Ms Stone said.
“They would power the stage, the lights on the pier and as much equipment as possible. At the moment, we pay more than £10,000 every year for electricity on the pier and solar panels will help cut our costs.
“This shows how serious I am about going green. We could make Herne Bay one of the greenest seaside towns.”
A small proportion of the money will also be used to refurbish the front of the pier.
The trust received £50,000 from the Coastal Revival Fund in 2016 to build its stage.