Our application was actually recommended for approval and had widespread support to help us move the project forward.
The discussion was illogical at times, and the Babergh Solicitor kept telling objecting councillors the reasons they were giving were not valid in planning law. After the vote of 7 against 6, the 7 councillors struggled for 11 minutes to give reasons that could be put in the council minutes. We have been advised we have good grounds for appeal.
Following the many emails and comments from investors, the Board is weighing up next steps, looking at whether to appeal and whether to revise the plans. Most of the 38 objections came from the Sailing Club next door, and the small vocal group who have objected to every stage of our project. We have been approached by the Marina to have talks with them and other local businesses, and as ever, we are always ready to listen to opinions.
Investors are very welcome to give opinions to the volunteers, either by chatting or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been shortlisted for 3 major grants, all of them require planning permission to be in place before they make an award, so we need to progress to planning permission as soon as possible.
Mis-information was spread that we intended to open an 84 seater restaurant, and this clearly influenced councillors who believed we were trying to steal trade from the nearby pub and marina. It was hard to stomach the comment from Councillor Busby that our volunteers would ruin other local traders when we all feel that extra visitors will benefit all traders there, and we have no intention of serving restaurant meals, only light refreshments. Tables and chairs are not only for eating at !
Some people have said why not just repair the pier without a building on it? The proposed buildings are not going to be on the pier, they would be on decking alongside the pier, we hoped for a workshop for volunteer maintenance of the pier, plus a visitor centre as is normal on a pier, to enable us to hold pier-related activities.
The kind of activity our Visitor Centre expects to have:
Leaning on the railings to bird watch
Junior craft activities in the school holidays to enjoy the pier
Creative leisure such as art and photography
Enjoying looking at the views while strolling or sitting inside or outside
Looking at our memorabilia and changing displays of heritage
Selling things like T Shirts, mugs and other pier related retail goods
Fishing lessons for families
Crabbing equipment for sale
At the steering group meeting in November 2016 at the Bristol Arms, it was suggested that a 2 storey building in the shape of HMS Ganges ship should be built. While this was a romantic notion, it felt too big and too expensive, but it shows that from the earliest stages we were talking about having a building there.
Transformation of the area in recent years includes the building of the Sailing Club itself about 40 years ago, demolition of the eyesore fishing stall at the Pier, and in very recent times, building of a large apartment block. the next big development is a small housing estate on the shore near the Pier where twelve 3-storey houses are about to built which extend further into the river than our proposed Visitor Centre.
Our Chairman John Davitt said: “only a small number of our investors have objected to the plans. Conversely, over 90 investors attended our village hall presentation of the plans a few months ago and there was a positive response. Additionally, an email newsletter detailing the plans was sent to over 700 people. Again, with an overwhelmingly positive response”. We have received many supportive emails from our members since the news, with this being a typical response: ” Objecting to such a modest proposal is absurd and the proposal in no way detracts from the pier itself but makes it a better community attraction. And the pier’s refurbishment can only do the Bristol Arms and the Marina good in terms of passing trade. ”
We welcome your thoughts so feel free to email us email@example.com