Friday, 22 June 2012


As you know this blog from time to time embarks on certain campaigns; such as the Union Flag and Fylde Borough Council stand-off at the Naze Lane Chippy (BLOG #71 - and of course the sacking of Tracy Chandler and Donny Dog by Doncaster Rovers FC – a disaster in public relations (BLOG #52 -

Injustices and pettiness combined.

Nicola Sylvester
 - showing the Olympic spirit in Redcar

Well more coastal pier verbiage I’m afraid – because last month I was approached by the good people of the Redcar Pier Association to promote their efforts in securing a traditional pier for the popular seaside resort through this blog. The Association is a newly-formed, all volunteer, apolitical group with the simple remit that a traditional pier (i.e. one that goes out to sea and not one that involves all-out alpinism), alongside the other investments already in place for the town would not only add greater value as an attraction to visitors and residents alike, it would compliment planned improvements by bringing more tourists and trade and demonstrate a new belief and vision for Redcar. Bang on!

The RPA envisages a people’s pier with money raised by local people and additionally sourced through grant schemes, company sponsorships etc.

As a region Teesside is justifiably proud and renowned for its expertise in modern steel production, offshore fabrication and engineering skills – the recent de-mothballing of the blast furnace at the Redcar Steel plant is testimony to that.

So the Association is in favour of a traditional pier made from locally-sourced materials by the sounds of it. The RPA strives for registered charitable status; that objective requires an income of £5000 a year which it hopes to achieve through its membership scheme.

Now contrast this with the vertical pier nearing completion in the town. The Middlesbrough Evening Gazette recently revealed that Redcar and Cleveland local authority bosses secretly acknowledged the name Vertical Pier was unpopular with residents - and admitted locals would rather have a traditional structure. The MEG obtained a restricted document detailing how Redcar and Cleveland Council planned to address the negative reaction to the controversial £1.6m tower’s name.

The briefing note - sent to Labour council leader George Dunning and cabinet member for economic development Mark Hannon - five months before work began states: “Local people have expressed concerns about the building being named a pier when it is not a functioning pier.” But they elected to sanction its construction anyway!

How could those responsible for Redcar’s redevelopment get it so wrong? In 2001 Southwold reopened its pier, in traditional style, from virtually nothing and this was after many years of being without a pier, much the same as Redcar. It is now a firm tourist attraction favourite.

As you know – dear readers – the Vertical Pier has been included in two previous blogs, neither of which has exactly served as any kind of endorsement to the project:-

BLOG #73 - and

BLOG #23 -

The 2012 Olympic Torch Relay visited Redcar earlier this week to glorious sunshine and a warm welcome. The partly-constructed Vertical Pier was there of course as part of the backdrop – fireworks and all. In truth though it was a bit underwhelming - just some smoke from a building site...


The Frigate
Hummershill Lane,
Redcar and Cleveland
TS11 7DH
Tel: 01642 484302

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