Experts need to examine Gorleston Pier

Gorleston's weather-ravaged pier may need a thorough inspection by engineering experts before repairs can go ahead.

Following his walk-about assessment of the holes and cracks last week, EastPort chief executive Eddie Freeman said: 'It was the severe weather in December that brought the problem to a head, lifting the surface, but in reality, it has been deteriorating over a number of years.

'We will have another look at it, but we might then need to bring someone in to assess the damage.'

Earlier this month, local residents noticed that harbour staff had fenced off damaged areas and put up railings and were concerned it might be barred completely in the same way as the pier car park was controversially closed two years ago.

However, Mr Freeman repeated his pledge to repair the damage once they knew what it involved and once the area was dried out.

In the meantime, he said: 'We have fenced off areas that might be a trip hazard but the pier will remain open and the public won't be inconvenienced.'

But Mr Freeman was unable to offer any hope to Gorleston residents and businesses who have been calling for the car park to re-open to address the seafront's shortage of parking spaces.

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He said: 'I can't see the car park opening again in the near future or at all. It would mean totally resurfacing it and that would not be a cheap job.'

Local residents have long complained about the deteriorating state of the pier which is popular with anglers and people looking at boats coming in and out of the harbour.

Local historian Dennis Durrant said the pier was becoming an eyesore when it should be one of the town's prime assets.

'It is a prominent feature in a conservation area so something should be done about its appearance,' he said.