Grand Pier tower on hold

NEXT month will mark two years since Weston’s Grand Pier was reopened after the devastating fire of 2008 – but building work is still not finished.

Remedial work has been taking place since the attraction’s grand opening, and contractors are still on site now adding finishing touches.

This means further pier developments – including new rides and an eye-catching observation tower which featured prominently in original blueprints – are still on hold.

So although foundations are in place for the 85m-high tower to be added, construction cannot go ahead until contractors finish their original job.

That means Kerry Michael – who co-owns the pier with sister Michelle – has been left frustrated in his efforts to add new features to the �51million landmark.

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He told the Mercury: “Contractors are still on site carrying out remedial works, and until such time as they are satisfactorily completed, we are unable to make changes to the building in any way.

“As many people are aware, certain enabling works to facilitate the tower including foundation piles and power were included in the re-build after the fire of July 2008.

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“Until all the snagging works are complete, we are not able to say when the observation tower works might commence.”

Pier rebuilding was beset by problems throughout, with its reopening date put back several times as contractor John Sisk & Son missed planned handover dates.

In September 2010, a roof leaked so badly it meant a newly-laid go-kart track had to be dismantled and replaced, while sections of decking fell foul of weight regulations and had to be repaired too.

An investigation was also launched after a workman fell from the pier landmark during construction, although he escaped serious injury.

At the time, Mr Michael admitted: “Some days have seemed very difficult and it felt like we would never get to the end of the process.”

John Sisk & Son was contacted by the Mercury this week, but did not respond to our request for a comment before the paper went to press.

Pictured left: The Grand Pier blueprints showing the observation tower.

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