Published: 19:58, 20 May 2022
| Updated: 20:15, 20 May 2022
Part of a historic pier collapsed into the River Medway just weeks after funding had been earmarked to help restore it to its former glory.
Rochester Pier, maintained by Medway Council, has been out of operation since 2019.
The structure of the floating pontoon and the brow – the section which connects the fixed pier to the pontoon – has been in deterioration for some time.
It was reported to be in such poor condition at a previous inspection that the entire pier was closed to the public.
Yesterday it suffered a "significant structural failure" when the tide changed between 4am and 5am which resulted in the pontoon separating from the brow, which is now partially submerged.
Local volunteers from the Friends of Rochester Churchfields & Esplanade (FoRCE) have taken an active interest in the historic pier and have been taking steps to secure its future.
In an update to members it said it was "particularly unfortunate" that its collapse had occurred just a few weeks after some funding had been allocated towards it.
"We have for some time planned to undertake some cosmetic and functional restoration and improvement to the fixed pie,"
It says it hopes the event may now galvanise the primary movers to" press on more urgently to return the pontoon to a safe and usable condition".
"Although we're unlikely to get involved with structural repairs to the floating and moving sections of the pier, we have for some time planned to undertake some cosmetic and functional restoration and improvement to the fixed pier," it said in a post.
"Naturally, the important repair work will take priority in the foreseeable future, but we believe it's a good time to move our agenda forward whilst the pier as a whole has gained some attention.
"We'll be ensuring we're involved in the discussions about the pier's future, sharing the ideas and views of our Friends and Members, and letting the council and other interested parties know how we as a group can help return the pier to its historic former glory."
It added that it hoped to "mobilise" its volunteer force to get involved as plans take shape in the coming months.