Iconic seaside destination could be forced to close as council faces £200k loss and visitor numbers plummet | The Sun

AN iconic seaside destination is under threat as the local council faces a £200,000 loss.

Southend Pier could be forced to close if Southend-on-Sea City Council goes bust.

The council may have to declare itself bankrupt if it fails to get on top of its £10.7million budget deficit.

Councillor Jamie Moyies said: "We are trying to avoid what could happen, in the short to medium term, with a s114 bankruptcy notice.

"If that happened the pier would be closed and many other services that we don’t need to do as a council would just stop.

"We’re trying to avoid that dreadful situation that we are heading towards.

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"With a positive attitude from the whole council to get by these ideas we’ve have got a good opportunity to achieve that."

Stretching 1.34 miles into the Thames Estuary, Southend Pier is the longest in the world.

The Grade-II listed pier was built in 1889 – with poet Sir John Betjeman writing that "the Pier is Southend, Southend is the pier".

But visitor numbers have plummeted from an annual high of 6million in Southend's postwar heyday.

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The ageing pier has been stricken by at least four fires over the years, and upkeep is punishingly expensive.

Councillor Derek Jarvis said that the pier made a £190,000 loss last year.

He told a special cabinet meeting: "The pier and foreshore team are working on things to make improvements straight away to get income.

"The word procurement means procuring resources to make money rather than just nearly breaking even.

"There was a loss of £190,000 last year but I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen.

"I wanted to make sure the word procurement didn’t mean selling off the pier.

"It means getting operators on there who are professional and will work with us to make money for us this year and in the longer term make a lot more money."

In a bid to save the pier, the council is now bringing forward a 10 per cent rise in fees and charges from April to January 1.

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