Pier group seeks solution

Largo Pier
Largo Pier

Residents in Largo have met with a local hotel boss as the long paddle begins towards a hopeful solution for Largo pier.

The possibility of the pier going into public ownership for its preservation was discussed, while local people are launching a search for sources of funding.

The chances of money being made available to help safeguard the ravaged structure would be enhanced considerably if it was in the community’s hands.

But campaigners know there is a long way to go, legally, financially and practically – and say the project will almost certainly sink if funding proves elusive.

The pier has suffered considerable damage over the last few years from the waves and tides, while the most recent stormy weather took heavy bites out of the rock.

The pier is part of the Crusoe Hotel site, owned by Stewart Dykes, who has agreed in principle to a transfer to public ownership.

The deal would cover the pier only, with Mr Dykes retaining the interests of the business.

Alison Hutchison, who, with fellow resident Andrea Partridge, had a “helpful” meeting with Mr Dykes, said there were examples of communities along the coast engaging in similar projects, so they hoped to find out more about these, as well as targeting the best outlets to approach for funding.

If the agreement went through, decisions also had to be made on how extensive the work on the pier should be.

Costs would have to be explored as well, said Alison, but with some estimates for large-scale repairs at around £40,000, fund-raising was unrealistic, as it would take too long.

The community was “very much for this,” said Alison, but it would depend on the amount of money it could source.

“If we don’t get funding, we are not doing it,” she added.“The decision will come from the community.”

Mr Dykes confirmed: “If the community wants to take over the running of the pier, I would have no problem with that at all, as long as I protect the rights of the hotel.”

Mr Dykes had advised the group on what he thought were the best repairs, adding the community’s desire to find solutions, and the willingness to help, were all very positive.