Weston’s Grand Pier

July 31, 2008

Sadly the news this week is full of one subject, that of the demise of an old but much cherished icon from Weston-super-Mare.

No, not John Cleese but the Grand Pier.

The Pier stood as it was from 1933 to the present with very little in the way of change for most of that time. Recently, before being bought by the Micheal Family, the pavilion and the entrance both had makeovers. This saw some freshening up of the basic structures but kept to the original design character.

Since purchasing the Pier, Kerry and Michelle had spent millions of pounds in improvements and upgrades, all sympathetic to the lasting design elements of the pavilion.

The thing is this, it will be rebuilt, it will no doubt be bigger and better in keeping with the new owners previous work so will it be the same design?

Would this be an appropriate time to completely reshape the icon or, as an icon, should it be rebuilt in the same style?

Now may be the right time to rethink just what we require from a seaside Pier. This one had the largest covered pavilion in the UK, it was known for it’s entrance gate, making it the symbol for a lot of local publicity shots and logos. As it is only the end pavilion that has been ruined not the full Pier, should it be just a case of replace like for like or a completely new pier?

One more point to ponder; Does this mean new ideas forbidden to an existing structure can now be utilised?

Can the new building include previously denied improvements?

Ideas such as a casino or conference hall are being whispered. A cinema and bowling alley, a Hotel,retail units and restaurants are all possibilties that could steal the thunder from the long delayed Tropicana/Lifestation and shame the Council into some sort of action.

The Town Centre Managers should look towards this as a Golden Goose. Any attraction that brings people to the edge of the High Street can only be good, as the proposed Lifestation debacle can only take trade away from the main town centre.

The ongoing investigation into development of the area known as Victoria Square must now be linked to the Pier rebuilt so as to draw people seamlessly to the rear of the Sovereign and into the High Street.

Whatever happens, it is clear this will be and must be determined by the people of Weston , the traders and not by the elected buffoons who have so far only managed to hold back development in a manner Canute would be proud of.

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