Pounded to pieces

The tide-wrecked pier at Largo
The tide-wrecked pier at Largo

Brutal winds and savage stormy weather have taken large bites out of the beleaguered Largo coastline in recent months.

Over the weekend, a big chunk of stone fell off the pier near the Crusoe Hotel after further merciless attacks by the tide.

Pier owner Stewart Dykes has authorised urgent repairs to the harbour wall and Crusoe Hotel car park at a cost of £10,000, which he hopes will be done by spring.

However, the hotel boss has warned that complete reinstatement of the pier is unlikely at present, as financially, it was too great a threat to business.

Worringly, exploratory checks had suggested the harbour wall could also fall into the sea, leaving him with a bill of around £40,000 or more.

Mr Dykes said he’d be willing to discuss fundraising ideas with the community and hoped a realistic way forward could be found.

Money, however, was not readily available from banks or other sources, he said, and unseasonal weather was affecting the whole country.

Largo Area Community Council had been advised that grant funding may be possible if the facility was in public ownership, but not while it was privately owned.

Mr Dykes indicated he’d be prepared to consider public ownership for the pier alone, but it was not a simple issue.

The community council is due to meet again on Monday and it is considering the option of asking Fife Council to inspect the site on health and safety grounds.

The state of the pier has become a controversial village issue in recent years, with Mr Dykes being accused of neglecting and abandoning it.

He said he understood the concerns of the community, of which he considered himself a part.

“I want the pier repaired as well, but I am trying to keep the place running and keep staff employed,” he added. “I do not want it to end up like the Lundin Links Hotel.”