Grand Pier tower will not be ready for opening

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 25 May 2010

ONE of the most prominent features of Weston s new Grand Pier will not be ready in time for the attraction's reopening this summer.

ONE of the most prominent features of Weston's new Grand Pier will not be ready in time for the attraction's reopening this summer.

The deal to create the panoramic tower for the end of the landmark has fallen through, but pier owners Kerry and Michelle Michael say they do not want to delay the whole project because of that and will press ahead with the other plans.

The business partners have found a new supplier for the feature, but it cannot have the looming structure in place until summer 2011.

Kerry Michael said: "We have to be open as soon as possible and we are not prepared to risk a delay to the reopening for the sake of the tower.

"Therefore we will open as planned and continue our negotiations with the new manufacturer so that we can have the tower in place for the following season.

"We are still committed to delivering it as promised, but we need to make sure everything is right.

"The foundations that are already in place were designed for the original tower and are likely to require modification.

"Because the design is slightly different, we may even require an amendment to our planning permission and there is simply not enough time to do this and meet the reopening date this summer."

The outline of Weston's new Grand Pier can clearly be seen on the seafront now.

The steel forming the upper floors of the new pavilion has been installed and, although not yet waterproof, most of the roof sheeting has also been added.

Kerry added: "Although the current weather conditions are providing their own challenges for us, we are confident that The Grand Pier will reopen on time and we cannot let anything affect that.

"We will still have 18 brand new rides and attractions for everyone to enjoy and the tower will give us all something to look forward to the following summer season."

The 85m observation tower was due to be the most expensive single feature on the landmark structure, estimated at a cost of around £2million.

The state-of-the-art pavilion is due to house a bar around three times bigger than the previous one, a Victorian tea room and a central canopy that would run the whole length of the pier, with sides that could close in bad weather.

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