The new pier has been put into the designated place following delivery, crane lifting and construction week commencing 9th August. Although not yet open for the primary purpose, the volunteer team have gone the extra mile in putting the project together. Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners have positioned the harbour cameras so that the pier is within CCTV sight. Once we have undertaken safety and stability trials, installed signage and handrails on the ramp, the Council will open the pier.
The following statement is written to answer some queries by local stakeholders.
Why has the pier been built, and why do we need a third pier?
This structure is part of a planned phased structure on the Hard that includes a community quay or square. The complete project will be for community and heritage use. This whole project has been created to utilise an area of the Hard that has laid unused for many years. The strategic objective is to raise the interest and profile of heritage vessels (East Coast Barges) that once laid in the area, a maintenance structure in the form of a concrete grid, and a desire to raise the awareness of the harbour potential to professional fishermen.
The Brightlingsea Town Council owned Town Jetty, built a number of years ago, is very heavily used by the community, more so in the summer months. This structure has a shared use by residents, visitors, and commercial vessels namely wind farm boats, fishermen, RNLI Lifeboats bringing casualties into the harbour and the marine police vessels. Loading calculations undertaken recently show that this structure does not come up to the designated UK guidelines for public use. At some point in the future the Council will need to address the loading calculations.
Who funded the pier, and who can use it?
The pier has been funded in the main by the EU, with funds coming from a French fishing funding project (EMFF). The team identified this fund last year when looking for the whole project funding. The funding allowed us to apply for a facility that would make improvements to safety and working conditions of landing sites in Brightlingsea. We received confirmation that we had been awarded funding just prior to the UK leaving the EU. The priority group restrictions are;
- Primary use is prioritised for “coded fishermen” in the transition to sustainable fishing and an adaption to landing sites, based on the risk posed by Covid-19. ‘Coded’ is the professional designation given to vessels that are licensed and include the day angling boats that operate from the harbour.
- Secondary activities permitted are in the form of “community heritage tourism” that supports coastal communities in diversifying their economies, in particular towards tourism and creating new employment opportunities.
Why could the funding not have been used elsewhere in Brightlingsea?
As previously mentioned, the fund that the team identified had a specific use, application to that fund was within the remit of that specific purpose.
Why was it built in the designated area?
The area the pier is in, to the west of the Dolphins, was in past years an area where Barges would lay up for repair or other reasons. In the second world war the Royal Navy identified the area suitable to maintain MTB boats so built the concrete grid mentioned previously. The Navy also built the steel Dolphins. At the end of the war the Navy paid compensation to the then Brightlingsea Urban District Council as recompense for the concrete structure. The reason to build the new structure in this area is as stated above, so that we can make use of the historic concrete grid.
Why does the pier not go further into the harbour?
Lane registered to Brightlingsea Town Council ends where the final posts will be laid for the pier.
Will I be able to moor my boat there, and who will manage it?
There will be local restrictions on mooring, similar to those in force at the Brightlingsea Town Council Town Jetty. Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners have been identified as the managing agents to manage the pier.
Can I go crabbing from there, can I launch my kayak / board?
After the UK Government lifts Covid-19 restrictions, the secondary use will kick in. We recognise that crabbing, kayaking and boarding is part of a visitor tourism remit.
What about the Dolphins?
In a previous Brightlingsea Town Council statement the Dolphins have been identified as a dangerous structure. Now that the pier is in place, and after the public are allowed access, the close proximity of the Dolphins and their state of repair will become very apparent. Council have debated the future of the Dolphins and have decided that until a viable resident led solution and funding plan is formed, we will place “Dangerous Structure” signage where they face the pontoons.