10 Jun #Southend Pier to undergo emergency repairs
SOUTHEND Pier is closed for emergency repairs after cracks on the pile caps were found.
And the pier could remain shut for as long as a week while it is brought back up to scratch.
The closure comes as the Tall Ship Mercedes is currently docked at the pier, having been scheduled to offer three-hour cruises to visitors from today until Sunday.
Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, said: “Unfortunately we have had to take the decision to close the pier today.
“Our team engaged in structural maintenance have identified a number of pile caps that have cracked. The area of acute concern is located just before the second shelter from shore.
“The pressure of the train passing over this area could cause further damage. Due to our evacuation procedures relying on the train, we have decided to close the pier completely until we can re-assess.
“Council partners are currently meeting on site with blue light agencies to work a way forward.
“We are deploying contractor teams to effect the repairs but need to wait approximately two days for specialist parts to be installed.
“We currently envisage a week for the repairs to be concluded, though further investigation will give a clearer picture of likely timeframes.
“We have the pier checked during regular condition surveys and invest heavily through our capital programme in its maintenance.
“These structural defects have come to light as a direct result of our monitoring its condition.
“The cause of the damage is still being investigated and we are prioritising critical works so that the pier can reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Events due to be held on the pier in the coming days are now being reviewed, pending our discussions with the emergency services.”
Ian Gilbert, councillor for the Victoria ward and leader of Southend’s Labour group said: “Routine repairs found cracks on the pile caps. If the train continues to run it could make it worse so it has had to close for repairs.