Dorset

Swanage Pier restoration to go ahead after funding

Swanage pier Image copyright Swanage Pier Trust
Image caption Strong winds and rough seas in March 2013 left the mid-section of the pier close to collapse

A project to preserve a 120-year-old pier on Dorset's Jurassic Coast can go ahead after receiving £500,000 funding.

Swanage Pier has been awarded the government cash for a planned £2.2m revamp that will "keep it upright" and turn it into a visitor attraction.

The pier trust said it was "bouncing off the walls" with the news.

It is hoped work on the pier building - Marine Villas - will start in the winter, with work on the pier structure beginning in early 2018.

Swanage Pier Trust chief executive Ben Adeney said: "We are bouncing off the walls with this news. It is absolutely amazing. It gives the pier a sustainable future - we're marking history.

"For at least the next 40 to 50 years there is a plan in place to keep the pier upright.

Storm damage

"Once the work is done, that will buy us eight to 10 years before major work has to start again."

The cost of the scheme was originally estimated at £1.7m but more detailed surveys put the cost at £2.2m.

The project will involve replacing pieces of the 120-year-old timber and turning Marine Villas, which predates the main pier structure by 70 years, into a new visitor centre.

There has been a pier at Swanage since 1859 but the current pier was opened in 1897.

It was acquired by the Swanage Pier Trust in 1994 and renovations have so far cost more than £1.1m.

In 2013, one of the pier's piles was severely damaged in a storm and cost £50,000 to replace.

The latest project has already received £893,800 in Heritage Lottery Funding.

Image copyright Swanage Pier Trust
Image caption The plans include an improved cafe, exhibition space, shop and office space

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