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Fight for pier goes on

despite funding blow

    By Gina Hobbs  

A MAJOR funding application for a brand new Withernsea Pier has been turned down by the Rural Development Programme for England. (RDPE).

But although frustrated, Withernsea Pier and Promenade Association is determined to overcome the obstacle and apply to other funding bodies.

It had been hoped the RDPE would approve the £185,000 bid towards the overall cost, estimated to be £300,000, of building a 21st century pier for Withernsea.

The group has worked tirelessly for the past three years towards gaining permission and funding for the pier after Withernsea Pier and Promenade chairman Torkel Larsen came across an architect’s drawing of the pier from 1870.

In May East Riding of Yorkshire Council approved plans for the viewing platform, extending out from Pier Towers across the beach. The appropriate marine licence has also been granted.

The group obtained funding worth £38,618, from Ørsted’s East Coast Communities Fund, but now this has also been lost as a consequence of not getting RDPE funding.

“We are disappointed we have not got the funding as we thought we had done everything to fulfil the RDPE requirements. But we got a short letter from RDPE saying they were not giving us the funding because it did not meet the national priorities as we did not employ enough people, or boost tourism in the area, which we thought we were doing,” said Mr Larsen.

However, despite the bitter disappointment, Mr Larsen and the group have vowed to continue and fight to get over the setback to bring Withernsea a pier.

“We are not giving up. We are in a much better position than we were in a year ago, despite being disappointed. We still have planning permission to build the first stage of the pier and we have the Marine Licence, both of which are valid for three years which gives us another three years to get alternative funding,” explained Mr Larsen.

He added the group would be looking at National Lottery funding and at alternative funding bodies.

Withernsea Pier and Promenade Association is confident having obtained quotes for construction the viewing platform can be built for under £300,000.

Group secretary, Kevin Watson, said: “The Marine Licence allows us to construct out over the beach, as well as all the technical drawings and the tenders so far received for construction so it can be seen as a hurdle, but one which can be overcome with patience and measure. With the experiences of applying for funding we will continue to explore other avenues. The majority of local businesses have supported the pier and promenade association’s work, but we also need involvement of large chain stores in the town as well.”

More fundraising events are planned and the Larsen family’s sponsored bike ride funds to Norway also still have to be added to the total.

Mr Larsen is appealing for more local people to volunteer to join the committee to assist with events and fundraising and provide support. The group’s next meeting is on Thursday, September 5 at 7pm at 2, High Brighton Street, Withernsea. To get involved email: [email protected] or call: 01964 615430 or visit Withernsea Pier Facebook page.

*See also page 6

The Holderness Gazette - Serving News to the Holderness Region