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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 13:30 GMT
Pier repairs face 250,000 excess
Southend Pier's charred timbers
An access route has been built for lifeboat crews using Southend Pier
An excess of 250,000 must be paid for repair work to Southend Pier which was destroyed by a huge fire last month.

But contractors have already provided a temporary access route for lifeboat crews and pier security staff.

This is also used by police and fire officers investigating the blaze on the pier, which was insured for 17m.

A Southend Borough Council spokesman said: "Unfortunately, due to health and safety and insurance reasons, visitors cannot use this walkway."

'Investigation work'

The pier is insured for full reinstatement work and the excess, normal for the large amount of cover, will be taken from financial reserves.

The new pier head is still staffed 24 hours a day by the council whose officers ensure the incident scene is protected and remains safe for those still carrying out investigation work.

They are also running generators to provide power to the lifeboat station at the end of the pier and to navigational lights and foghorn.

Council leader Anna Waite said: "I am extremely pleased that the walkway is now open to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI). This will certainly help the RNLI and assist with the investigation work currently being carried out."


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