Calls for fresh ideas to pay for North Norfolk's 'jewel in the crown'

Cromer Pier but visitors from high coronavirus rate areas are not being encouraged.
Picture: Brita

A councillor has suggested the long term strategy for Cromer Pier be reviewed - Credit: Archant

A North Norfolk councillor has suggested the long term strategy for Cromer Pier be reviewed to see if there are any "fresh ideas" on how to pay for its maintenance.

Gerard Mancini-Boyle has asked North Norfolk District Council what the long term strategy for looking after the famous structure is after council's medium-term financial strategy for 2022-25 papers revealed the authority was going to spend "roughly £2.7M" on the pier.

He said: "I'd like to go on record and say I'm not actually a pier hater, I actually quite like the thing.

"However, I think a fresh set of eyes and new ideas, [to] go out to some sort of consultation with local entrepreneurs or international or the whole of the country is needed, to come up with some ideas because we want to keep the thing but we also don't want to keep losing money especially in these difficult times."

Eric Seward.

Eric Seward. - Credit: Archant

Eric Seward,  portfolio holder for finance and assets, said Cromer Pier was "the jewel in the crown of North Norfolk" and successive councils had looked at and "wondered" if there was another way of paying for the landmark.

He said: "[The pier] is an intractable problem, but it's the jewel in the crown, it's very important to our tourist economy and in many ways it's a unique pier because it's one of very few that's actually left in the country where you have variety shows and live entertainment in the theatre on the pier, so we've got to keep it there."

The historic Cromer Pier in North Norfolk, a constituency where the 2019 general election battle is

Cromer Pier is "the jewel in the crown" of the North Norfolk - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Lucy Hume, chief technical accountant for NNDC, said there were a number of things the authority looked at when considering the amount of investment necessary in an asset.

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She said: "The pier is clearly a big draw for the public, near and far. So the reason why we look to maintain that appropriately is to give that wider tourism boost to the local area.

"So although it generates us a direct income from a management fee, the wider benefits for the area is a service benefit which we also take into account."

The committee voted that the medium-term financial strategy be approved by the full council.

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