Southport's Pier Hopes Dashed

1 Mar 2024
Southport Pier - Closed

A move by Liberal Democrat councillors, asking Sefton Council to move forward with refurbishing Southport's Pier, was defeated last night when the Council met at Bootle Town Hall to set its budget for the forthcoming year. 

The proposal to make a serious start on work to re-open part of the historic Pier, made by opposition leader & Liberal Democrat Cllr. John Pugh, was rejected by the Labour majority. 

Cllr.Pugh sought to amend the Council's capital budget - adding a further £2 million from capital borrowing. The current Council budget has only allocated £107,000 (less than a third of what is planned to be spent next year on The Strand shopping centre).

"I am a disappointed," stated Cllr Pugh afterwards ," as this was a modest step forward to make a start on refurbishment. The council's current policy on the Pier is to simply take the begging bowl to the government and wait, but I suspect they will be more likely to support the Council on this project if it's prepared to make a financial commitment itself.

And, as I tried to explain, delaying repairs has already cost sefton residents money. The Council received a report from civil engineering consultants, Mott McDonald in 2014 advising them to have the structure recoated by 2017. They didn't do it then, and we are now paying the price."

In 2017 another set of consultants, Trada Exova, reported that only 1% of the planks needed replacing, but complacency since then means it's a much bigger job now.

Delaying making a start on refurbishment isn't just a standstill and a disappointment to the public. It's demonstrably racking up costs and making the problem worse. "

The Liberal Democrat amendment was certified a valid amendment by Sefton's Chief Monitoring Officer and Director of Finance meaning the changes he proposed would have resulted in a balanced ,financially prudent budget.