Worthing Pier ‘in good condition’ despite buffeting by storms and emergency repair works
Worthing’s pier is in ‘good condition’ say council officers despite ‘annual buffeting by storms’ and ongoing emergency repair works costing £125k.
The pier is owned by Adur and Worthing Councils and an inspection in early November found ‘serious deterioration’ to the landing stage following stormy weather.
‘Immediate works’ were needed to ‘maintain structural stability’ and the £125,000 costs have come out of the existing reactive maintenance budget of £179,460.
Unfortunately, the council’s contractor – which had cared for the pier since 2019 – was affected by the pandemic and had to cancel its contract in August 2021.
This coincided with the need for emergency works but the council appointed JT Mackley & Co Ltd to carry them out instead.
Repairs have ‘proceeded well’ say officers but further deterioration occurred between finding the fault and the start of works.
Work can only be done during low tide and has been ongoing since December 3.
Had works not been carried out, the landing stage, Southern, and Central Pavilions may have faced temporary closure.
This would have been a blow to visitors and fishing enthusiasts who can fish wherever they like on the landing stage.
Pier is ‘pride of Worthing’
Providing an update during the joint strategic committee meeting on Tuesday (January 11), council officers said: “At the beginning of November last year, the council’s engineering team noticed that recent storms had somewhat battered the landing stage and substructure.
“It was felt that this needed urgent attention to protect the historic asset for the town.
“The second phase [of works] is actually coming to a close, so it’s really only the works that were originally planned for February which are outstanding.
“It’s important to note that the pier actually appears to be in good condition despite its exposure to all of the elements and its annual buffeting.
“Regular inspections will continue to ensure its condition is maintained.”
Worthing Borough Council leader Kevin Jenkins (Con, Gaisford) praised officers for their quick thinking, adding that the pier is ‘the pride of Worthing’.
“Thanks to [officers] for making sure that the pier is safeguarded,” said councillor Jenkins.
“It is the pride of Worthing and it has been pier of the year.
“We’re glad that the emergency work has been done because the last thing we want, as a community and as a council, is to see the loss of all or part of that pier.
“We’ve only got to look along the coast to Brighton to see the West Pier sitting there for many years and we certainly don’t want something like that. It does look sad.”
Pier has bounced back from history of disasters
Due to its position protruding off the coastline, Worthing Pier feels the full effect of stormy weather.
Storm Arwen affected the UK in late November with storm Barra following in early December.
But this is nothing new and, in the last century and a half, the pier has faced several disasters and major repairs.
A storm with winds up to 80 mph hit the pier in March 1913 causing the entire structure from the centre to the shore to disappear into the sea.
The South Pavilion and landing stage (the subject of recent repair works) remained ‘virtually untouched’.
Rebuilding started four months later with the new pier opening more than a year after the storm in May 1914.
Then, in September 1933, a fire ‘completely destroyed’ the Southern Pavilion.
It was reported that flames could be seen from Beachy Head.
The new pavilion was opened in July 1935.