SUPPORTERS of Bognor Regis Pier have met the town’s MP to explain their hopes for its future.
Some of the 11 members of Bognor Pier Trust and Nick Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, were given a tour of the well-known structure by its owner, John Ayers.
Mr Gibb said: “It’s good the trust is getting together to work out how we can save the pier and improve what is a key landmark in the town.
“We tried many years ago, but were unsuccessful because the pier is Grade II-listed and not Grade II*.
“It’s wonderful this group of people want to try again. I support them absolutely and will do everything I can to help them.
“We need to get funding for the pier. I will certainly help to arrange meetings to help the trust put their case to receive grants. Improving the pier will improve the entire town.”
As reported, the trust belongs to the Bognor Regis Heritage Vision Board, with the town council, which has been given the go-ahead to make a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for up to £5m for the pier and the Picturedrome cinema.
Mr Ayers, who has owned the pier since 1996, said: “It’s good a new group has got together to help the pier.
“I’m hoping we will get somewhere together this time. I will certainly work with Paul Wells, the town’s mayor, and the trust.
“It will be important in years to come that a trust takes over the pier. It’s important for future generations that happens.”
He said he was spending tens of thousands of pounds a year on the historic structure’s basic upkeep. More work on the pier’s supports was due to start soon, he said.
Trust chairman Nick Stuart-Nicolson said the trust and the related Friends of Bognor Pier were gaining awareness and support for the various bids it will make.
“Seaside piers remain the most iconic symbol of all seaside resorts lucky enough to still have one.
“Like most piers, ours is a Victorian structure and has shown itself very able to withstand the constant ravages of the sea for almost 150 years. However, it has naturally suffered somewhat over time. She now needs some help.
“This will be a lengthy process but, as we are now tasked with the pier’s restoration, we shall be staging fundraising events on and around the pier.”