Lincolnshire

Fire-hit Skegness leisure complex to become The Sky Pier

Skegness fire, August 2007 Image copyright John Byford
Image caption The complex in Skegness was destroyed by a fire in August 2007

Work has started to rebuild part of a leisure complex in Skegness seven years after it was destroyed by a major fire.

The Parade complex, originally called Frederica Terrace, was the first set of buildings on the Skegness seafront when completed in 1879.

It had many uses over the years, including as a grand hotel, but the complex was a popular nightspot by the time it burnt down in August 2007.

The new development will be called The Sky Pier.

Planning permission has been granted to build a four-storey building, which will include bars with dance floors, an ice rink, roller disco area and internet cafe.

Martin Brown, who represents the owners, said the development had "taken some time" due to economic factors.

"At the end of 2007 when we lost the building, you are out of the season, you've then got insurance issues to deal with, and then you've got the economic factors that have prevailed since 2007 and 2008," he said.

"There's over £10m being committed to this development, and to put that money together and then actually devise a development that's going to give a return on that does take a bit of thinking about, [it] does take a bit of time."

Image copyright John Byford
Image caption Photographer John Byford captured the fire

The complex had two sets of owners, and the parts owned by the other owners have already been rebuilt.

Skegness residents have complained for years that the remaining parts have not been replaced.

Skegness mayor George Saxon said: "It may have took a long time but it's here.

"It looks good now, it looks as if we are going to get some results and the first two floors finished just before the season starts next year.

"Anything that's happening now on the seafront or in Skegness is good news."

John Byford, a photographer from Skegness, captured the fire and its aftermath.

"People were totally devastated," he said.

"Whether you went there or not you still had a connection somehow.

"We have been waiting a long time."

Image copyright Unknown
Image caption The buildings were the first on the Skegness seafront when completed in 1879
Image copyright John Byford
Image caption The fire broke out overnight, when people were inside the buildings
Image copyright John Byford
Image caption More than 100 firefighters used water from swimming pools to tackle the blaze
Image copyright John Byford
Image caption National and regional news crews reported on the fire
Image copyright John Byford
Image caption The fire revealed parts of the original Victorian structure, which had been covered up by facades
Image copyright John Byford
Image caption One resident told the BBC it looked like a bomb had hit the area
Image copyright John Byford
Image caption The fire could be seen more than 20 miles out to sea
Image copyright John Byford
Image caption The fire-hit buildings had to be demolished
Image caption Work has started to rebuild the remaining parts, seven years after the complex was destroyed

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