New hopes to rebuild Hunstanton Pier after it was destroyed by a storm 40 years ago

PUBLISHED: 16:03 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:09 11 January 2018

A walk by Hunstanton pier on a misty winter's  day in Feb 1975. Picture: John Hocknell

A walk by Hunstanton pier on a misty winter's day in Feb 1975. Picture: John Hocknell

Forty years after it was destroyed by a storm, campaigners still hope another pier could be built at Hunstanton.

Visitors on the promenade watch the sunset over   Hunstanton pier in the early 1970's. Picture: John Hocknell Visitors on the promenade watch the sunset over Hunstanton pier in the early 1970's. Picture: John Hocknell

On the night of January 11, 1978, the structure was washed away by a storm surge which caused havoc across the region.

The iron structure was built in the Victorian era before it officially opened in 1870, in Hunstanton’s heyday as a seaside resort.

Hunstanton Pier in 1978. Photo: Archant Library Hunstanton Pier in 1978. Photo: Archant Library

The remains of the pier were removed following the storm, and the pier head building, which housed the three-story amusement centre Jungle Wonderland, burned down in 2002.

The Hunstanton Heritage Pier Community Trust (HHPCT) is hoping a new pier built with modern materials and technology would bring back the appeal to tourists as well as benefit the local community.

The Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is the Pier in 1968. Picture: Ian Burt The Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is the Pier in 1968. Picture: Ian Burt

“We had a pier for 100 hundred years and it has never been rebuilt,” HHPCT chairman John Bridger said. “It is crucial for the economic development of the area.

“A business workable all year round would appeal to the local demographic and to tourists.”

Hunstanton flood damage, 13th January 1978. Photo: Archant Library Hunstanton flood damage, 13th January 1978. Photo: Archant Library

Mr Bridger is hoping a feasibility study looking into the designs and costs of a new pier can begin next month once they are able to verify whether a new pier can be built on footprint of the old pier.

Mr Bridger added: “The next stage is to undertake the feasibility study, it will be a business plan for the pier.

Hunstanton flood damage, 13th January 1978. Photo: Archant Library Hunstanton flood damage, 13th January 1978. Photo: Archant Library

“Piers have failed over the years, some have fallen down but many do great things for the local community, like Brighton pier which is the biggest tourist attraction in England outside of London.”

Mr Bridger estimates the costs of building the pier would be in the region of £6m - £10m, which could be partly funded through shareholders, lottery funds and private investors. 
On what a new pier will bring to Hunstanton, Mr Bridger said: “It will bring and increased interest in the local area and a greater footfall in the town.
“There are one or two empty shops in the town at the moment and shops that go to sleep in the winter, this project will act as a catalyst to drive the business economy in Hunstanton.”

Hunstanton flood damage, 13th January 1978. Photo: Archant Library Hunstanton flood damage, 13th January 1978. Photo: Archant Library

More information about the project can be found on www.hhpct.org.uk.

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