2 May 2013

Pier plans aim to boost tourism

More details on how Mumbles Pier is to be transformed as a tourism location have been unveiled this week.

Work is currently underway on a £12.5 million restoration scheme at the pier which is jointly funded by the RNLI and pier owners AMECO Ltd. The supporting platform for the new lifeboat house is nearing completion as steel beams are slotted into place.

But it another part of the pier’s heritage which has become the focus of attention as ideas are discussed as to how the current RNLI boathouse could be given a new lease of life.

The iconic building which dates back to 1934 is a feature that appears on more postcards than any other depicting Swansea Bay. It will be decommissioned when the new Tamar-class lifeboat becomes operational. However plans are already in preparation to convert the older grade II listed structure into a visitor & exhibition centre celebrating the history of the pier and possibly the Mumbles Train.

 Managing director John Bollom explained that the company would take on responsibility for maintaining and converting the boathouse. They also propose to construct a permanent floating pontoon dock that would allow smaller vessels to moor alongside the existing slipway.

This innovation could allow vessels to land whatever the state of the tide – a first in Mumbles where rise and fall is the second highest in the world. The improvement is also part of a commitment by the company to help develop water-based activities in the locality.

“We still need to look at the overall feasibility but there is definite scope to have a landing stage that could accommodate passenger craft and even tenders from some of the smaller cruise ships that travel around the UK coast”.

“Needless to say, the potential benefits for the Mumbles & Gower area would be considerable”.

Mr Bollom also revealed that the company aimed to boost visitor figures by giving the public free admission to promenade along the newly restored pier.

AMECO are raising their share of finance to restore the pier by selling off foreshore holdings for residential and commercial development. Planning consent was given by Swansea Council in 2011 following large-scale public consultation.

“We could not have come this far without the support of the wider community and Mumbles traders”, he said.

“We’re grateful that they have supported our aim to make the pier site a top-notch attraction and raise the tourism profile of the area”.

Negotiations on land deals have reached a final stage and an announcement is expected on development partners at the end of the month. Proposals on the shape & design of the new developments will be put to planners.

Work should then commence on rebuilding the pier stem and creating a new boardwalk connecting the pier pavilion and inshore lifeboat station. 

New and old: In the foreground, work progresses on the slipway that will launch the RNLI's Tamar-class lifeboat while the new boathouse begins to take form. Alongside is the current lifeboat house which pier owners AMECO plan to convert into a visitor centre and all-purpose mooring for excursion craft.

Picture: Amusement Equipment Company Ltd