Work starts on Mumbles Pier restoration
1 June 2018
Preparation work has finally begun on a multi-million pound restoration project of a popular local attraction.
Construction crews have moved onto site to begin partial demolition of Mumbles Pier. They will also be removing period Victorian features for safe storage and expert refurbishment.
Re-construction costing £3.2 million commenced in earnest on 1st June and is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Additional decking, designed to enlarge the amount of public space nearer the foreshore will be installed the year after.
Not everything is to be replaced though. The original columns supporting the pier and installed in 1898 are still deemed up to the job.
A spokesman for the pier owners explained, “Remarkably, the engineering reports show the cast-iron columns do not need replacing.”
News of the work coincides with the release of designs showing plans for foreshore development intended to finance the pier’s restoration. These are to be submitted this week as part of a final stage in the planning process.
City planners recently approved amendments to allow minor layout changes. These have been incorporated into the detailed final application, said the spokesman.
The development now incorporates a smaller hotel & apartment scheme than previously envisaged. It is thought this could include holiday lets. Plans no longer require cliff top access.
The headland development, located on the site of the former Cinderella’s nightclub, also paves the way for future proposals to convert the upper level of the present amusements pavilion into a wedding & function suite that will boast a breath-taking waterfront vista.
There are similar aims to transform the former lifeboat house into a restaurant and events centre - and which could be accessible by water taxi.
Depending on planning consent, the foreshore development work can begin in early 2019 with the construction of a new coastal sea-wall. This will be topped by a public board-walk and additional car parking.
There are further plans under discussion to extend the boardwalk to connect with nearby Knab Rock, removing the current situation where pedestrians and traffic share the access road.
It is estimated that the overall pier and foreshore project represents £35 million in investment value and will transform the location as a visitor destination.
The project has the backing of Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for Culture, Tourism & Major Projects, who stated: “This imaginative scheme fits perfectly with our ambitious plans to boost Swansea’s tourism potential.”
Several traders and business owners in the Mumbles have also welcomed the development.
Constructed in 1898 and partially rebuilt in the 1950s, over £300,000 has recently gone into maintaining the iconic pier. However, remorseless weather and salt corrosion has made the steelwork and decking unfit for further repair. It is now closed to the public.
Ambitious plans to restore the much-loved Victorian jetty have been over a decade in the making. Several proposals to save the Grade II* listed structure have been frustrated by site difficulties and funding issues.
The pier and adjacent foreshore is privately owned which makes it ineligible for public grant aid. The owners have opted therefore to redevelop their foreshore land holdings to finance the vital restoration work. These proposals fit within the Swansea Bay Strategy – a regeneration vision jointly agreed between Swansea Council and the Welsh government.
Mumbles Pier was originally built as a working jetty to provide an alternative to Swansea Docks where quayside mooring was crowded and dangerous. The railway line was extended beyond Oystermouth and rolling stock was able run to the end of the jetty where water levels ensured safer mooring.
Docks operations ceased after three years and the pier quickly became a massively popular visitor attraction complete with pavilions and a band-stand. Pleasure steamers called regularly, taking on excursion passengers who arrived via the world-famous Mumbles Train
Mumbles Pier was voted the locality’s favourite destination in the Swansea version of the Monopoly board game.
The supporting steelwork, decking and railings used to restore the pier will employ the same design and materials that surround the recently constructed RNLI boathouse.
Construction arrangements will ensure unrestricted RNLI crew access to the lifeboat house throughout the works.