CAMPAIGNERS behind plans for a pier in Withernsea have been boosted by a £125,000 grant from the National Lottery.
They believe a pier will put one of Yorkshire’s most deprived towns back on the map, attracting another 10,000 visitors and helping local businesses.
They are now working on an Easter opening for the Pier Towers, all that is left of the original pier of 1877, which lasted less than three decades, having being hit and damaged by a number of ships.
The castellated towers, which have been variously used as a souvenir shop, first aid station and tourism information, will be used for market stalls and as an exhibition centre, subject to planning permission.
Torkel Larsen came up with the idea after chancing upon the original architect’s drawings nearly four years ago.
Mr Larsen said the grant via Withernsea Big Local, had restored their faith after a series of setbacks.
He said they kept going because residents were so supportive and it was a project that “gives people hope” in a town, which was out on a limb and a “bit forgotten”.
He said: “Last year when we lost our biggest funder, we had a discussion, do we give up or carry on? We have too many people relying on us to achieve this and we are not going to give up.
“It is a project that the town can get behind.”
The £8 million project has been planned in stages to make it easier to achieve, with the final goal being to build a two-storey building at the end with panoramic views of the sea, demonstrating all forms of renewable energy and with a cafe downstairs.
He said East Riding Council has moved from being “naturally extremely sceptical” to officers getting behind the project.
Easter would be the first time people could see the progress being made, adding: “It will be quite a milestone and I think it will spur us on.”
They now still have to find another £115,000 towards the £300,000 for the first stage of the project, which includes a viewing platform and seating looking out to sea. But Mr Larsen is confident the money can be raised.
The original pier was 1,200ft and the new pier would be around half that length but wider.
The aim is to have real-time displays of how much energy the offshore wind farms that can be seen from Withernsea are producing, and there will be solar panels and a small wind turbine on the roof.
The nearest pier currently is at Saltburn, nearly 140 miles away.
“It will be a destination for people to come and see how they work. Most piers have amusements but we have plenty in the town already. This will be certainly something different,” he added.