Shotley Pier Shares Launched

Shares are now available to become part-owner of the Victorian Shotley Pier, in Suffolk. 

The community shares officially went on sale from 4pm on Thursday June 1, on the Crowdfunder website,and share forms can also be picked up at the Bristol Arms, Shotley Gate, 

A minimum investment of £50 will secure two shares, and the maximum investment allowed by any one investor is £10,000 

Pledges of £39,000 have already been received by the Shotley Heritage Community Benefit Society, which is administering the project to buy the pier, with a £1 for £1 match-funding of up to a total of £100,000 promised by the Co-op’s Power To Change Booster Programme. 

A minimum £80,000 target has been set by the pier group, with the Co-op set to match up to £65,000, which would give the project £130,000 so the group can meet the £100,000 asking price and initial safety work done on the pier.

If successful a second tranche of investment to be sought in order to repair and renovate the pier the booster programme will be matching the first £35,000 invested by investors.

Sally Chicken, chair of the Shotley Heritage Community Benefit Society, said “People who invest should do so for community reasons, this is not primarily a financial investment, as there will be no dividends. 

“We welcome small purchases from £50 to ensure that everyone can take part in this unique community business.” 

The share offer closes on July 14, 2017, and the pier group’s Crowdfunder site offers a huge range of rewards for investors, including the chance to pop the final rivet, enjoy a personalized boat trip, or take a VIP flight over the pier.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for the community and other backers from further afield, to take ownership of this Victorian pier, which is steeped in history,” said Pier project founder member and Babergh District councillor Derek Davis. “It is wonderful to see an idea bounced about in the Bristol Arms a couple of years ago, now taken up by villagers supported by the council and moving forward.

“Once an initial survey, commissioned by our communities team, was encouraging we secured a £20,000 from Babergh District Council and that set us on our way.

“Chris Knock, Babergh’s grant guru put us onto the Power to Change funding stream and that, along with the fabulous support we have had from people far and wide, has been hugely encouraging in making us all believe this is now very achievable.” 

The group plans to bring the pier back to be used by fishermen, sightseers, birdwatchers and for small yachts to berth alongside, and just for people who enjoy a gentle stroll down a uniquely British pier. 

Michael Evans, Strategic Director for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, said: "We are proud to be able to support the community buying and renovating Shotley Pier: this is a great example of what a community can achieve by coming together, working hard for a common cause and engaging with thousands of people along the way. 

"The enthusiasm and professional approach of the steering group is inspiring, and we look forward to working with them in the months to come. Shotley Pier is on the way to becoming a community asset owned and enjoyed by all."

Originally known as Bristol Pier, after the Marquis of Bristol, the pier was built in 1894 in order to cash in on the expansion of the railways, especially the mail route from Harwich to the Netherlands. 

The pier originally had rail tracks to carry mail, and dollies were used by the Royal Navy to move munitions. A ferry operated from the pier, which has also been used by fishermen and barge owners.

By Derek Davis on June 2nd, 2017