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Herne Bay Pier extension plans look ‘unlikely’ right now

Hopes of building an extension to Herne Bay Pier have been put on hold.

Bosses at the landmark have long harbored ambitions for a multi-million-pound expansion, with various proposals put forward in recent years.

Herne Bay Pier in September 2022
Herne Bay Pier in September 2022

However, current pier manager Andrew Cook admits the chance of any scheme coming to fruition is not looking “very likely” as things stand.

“We’d love to put another 100 metres on it but realistically it’s not high on a lot of people’s wishlist,” said Mr Cook.

“There is definitely no plan to build a new pier or anything like that - the £50 million required is well out of reach.

“The last thing anyone is thinking about nationally is investing and extending in little old Herne Bay’s pier. If we have the opportunity to get a grant we’d love to do it but doing it through self-generated funds – especially after hikes in prices in the past few years – is not feasible.

“If anything was to happen to the pier something might happen, but other projects are taking priority right now.”

Herne Bay Pier manager Andrew Cook
Herne Bay Pier manager Andrew Cook

Canterbury City Council is responsible for the landmark, while The Herne Bay Pier Trust runs the section of the attraction still connected to the land.

The latest attempt to expand the pier was put forward in 2019 amid hopes of seeing the structure extended further out to sea.

The trust chairman at the time, Doreen Stone, even met with engineers from CCC to discuss the viability of an extension.

Bosses had believed the plans would cost between £3m and £5m - and would take about four years to complete, if they had received the funding.

Despite the disappointment surrounding the pier’s extension, the members of the trust believe there is a lot to be hopeful about.

There are long-held hopes to expand Herne Bay Pier Picture: Alan Langley
There are long-held hopes to expand Herne Bay Pier Picture: Alan Langley

The pier will host its annual laser show on December 16 in an attempt to get crowds to flock to the attraction and provide a much-needed Christmas boost for traders.

Mr Cook said: “We’ve probably got more footfall now than the pier has ever had.

“All our trading huts are taken in the summer so there are more than 30 businesses out there all helping to bring people in.

“We’re doing well in the summer and certainly holding our heads above water, there are a lot of positives.”

Previous proposals to extend the current structure back out to the head of the old pier were finally scrapped in 2019, with it being deemed “unviable”.

The old pier in the 1930s. Picture: Barry Mount
The old pier in the 1930s. Picture: Barry Mount

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.

Elsewhere along the seafront, the implementation of the plaza – which will be closed off to traffic – is believed to be near completion.

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