Falmouth’s Prince of Wales Pier requires ‘significant’ urgent repairs, as recent inspections have found that more of the pier’s steps have disintegrated and fallen into the sea.
Following the inspection, by Cornwall Council in June, Falmouth Steve Eva has told a meeting of the town council’s finance and general purpose committee that the steps on the iconic pier were disintegrating at an alarming rate, reports the Falmouth Packet.
“We got steps falling into the sea on Prince of Wales Pier and it’s dangerous down there,” Eva said, adding that the pier belongs to Cornwall Council, who ‘don’t want to spend money, but it is their responsibility to keep people safe.’
An email to Cornwall Councillor Jayne Kirkham from Cornwall Council agreed with an assessment from town clerk Mark Williams, in that the situation had become worse than expected since the initial survey, with the steps suffering from concrete cancer, and more falling into the sea.
“Our plan was to undertake repairs over the winter but these are now more extensive than the initial programme,” said Cllr Kirkham, adding that she will know more once she has met with contractors, and determined if there were any short term repairs and solutions to help make the pier accessible.
Following the meeting, she revealed that out of the eight sets of steps on the pier, steps 1, 4, and 6 enabled links to the community via ferry links. However, if steps 4 also deteriorate, the links will be restricted by the tide.
Cllr Jude Robinson said: “Basically they are going to do the least possible repairs they can because it’s Falmouth.”
Cllr Eva expressed concern about people taking care and being safe around the pier, saying that it is a popular spot for kids to play, who could potentially be struck by falling masonry.
“We need to know what they are doing to make it safe,” he said.
Cllr Allan Jewell said that he thought the pier might be best being replaced, as it was reaching the end of its 100-year-old lifespan.
The committee agreed to contract Cornwall Council to express concerns about the state of the pier and its continuing deterioration and to ask about the authority’s plans for repairs and long-term renovations to ensure the pier remained safe for the public and future generations.
A statement from Cornwall Council said: ‘The Pier is safe for general public access and ferries operating winter services are doing so from steps 1, 4 and 6 with no service disruption. Late last week Steps 3 were closed following the failure of a step which the St Mawes ferry was moored to. A surveyor and contractor attended this week to develop a repair plan for them.’
‘Steps 2 and Steps 5 require significant structural work, which is currently being costed, and so they will remain out of service for the time being.’
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