Community group raises £58,000 to buy Shotley Pier

Campaigners celebrate by the pier Image copyright Steve Chicken
Image caption Shares were sold to the value of £58,000

A community is to buy and renovate a dilapidated Victorian pier after raising £58,000 through a share scheme.

The 600ft (180m) Shotley Railway Pier at Shotley Gate, Suffolk, used to serve the HMS Ganges naval training base.

Money raised to save the 122-year-old pier, built by the Marquis of Bristol, will be matched by the Power to Change Community Shares Booster Programme.

John Davitt, chairman of the Shotley Pier Group, said: "We are overwhelmed by the support of our investors."

Image copyright East Anglian Group
Image caption Shotley pier was built as a working pier in 1894

Mr Davitt said the structure of the pier above the water level looked "a bit sorry for itself".

"That will take a lot of work, but the important thing is the sub-sea structure is basically sound," he said.

Mr Davitt said a former pupil at the Ipswich Girls' School, who is now living in Hong Kong, invested a "substantial" sum hours before the deadline to buy shares.

Image copyright East Anglian Group
Image caption An apprenticeship scheme is planned as part of the pier's renovations

Funding group Power to Change Community Shares Booster Programme, which handed over a £5,000 grant to get the project off the ground, pledged last year to match up to £100,000 raised through shares bought by people interested in owning part of the pier.

The minimum investment was £25.

Spokesman Neil Turton said: "Shotley Pier is among a new generation of community owned enterprises that are bringing valuable local assets into the hands of local people."

Once the purchase has been completed, the group expects to carry out the renovations in 100ft (30m) stages over the next three years.

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