BULLISH pier supporters are to set to work on compiling a £5m bid to gave the seafront landmark a bright future.
The members of Bognor Pier Trust have just under three months to complete the bid to the Heritage Enterprise Fund. The application will be submitted on August 5 and the result should be known in November.
They are getting down to work buoyed by the success of last week’s 150th bank holiday birthday celebrations for the pier.
Jan Malpas, a member of the trust and chairman of the Friends of Bognor Regis Pier, said about 30 Friends had been involved in the party.
“Everyone had such a fantastic day and enjoyed themselves as well as working hard. It’s now a case of moving forward. We will be looking to spend the £10,000 we received from the lottery on surveys of the pier to support our bid. The trust will be adding £5,000 to that grant.
“Two or three members are keeping a record of everything we are doing and that will go as part of the application as well. The Heritage Enterprise Fund will be able to see what has been happening with the pier.”
The trust’s aim is to take over the Grade II-listed pier from its owner, John Ayers, and lease his business premises back to him.
It will use the £5m, if it is granted, to preserve and restore the pier’s current buildings. The eventual goal is to restore some of the missing length.
Jan said the birthday party showed the pier’s popularity. It was the first occasion when the trust’s The Pier Point was open in a converted storage shed.
“There is a huge amount of goodwill in the town towards the pier. It’s all generations.
“Val Souchet, who was in the charge of the community work with three schools which was shown there, estimated at least 1,000 people went into The Pier Point.
“The Pier Point is going to change everything for us. It has given us a location where we can work from.
“Our biggest project now is staffing it so we can open it at weekends and in the summer holidays.”
Among the visitors to the birthday party was Patricia Clow, 68, of North Bersted. She said: “Everyone is working so hard for this.
“The whole thing about getting the pier up and running again is that it will be the making of Bognor.
“It would be wonderful to have the paddle steamers coming back in and the landing stage.”
Another visitor, Pauline Scott, 75, of the Aldwick Bay estate, said: “You can’t picture Bognor without the pier.”