1:00pm Tuesday 15th January 2013
By Melanie Vass
A HIGH ropes course and zipwire proposed for Bournemouth Pier could ruin the appearance of the iconic structure, it has been claimed.
Plans to liven up the pier with three adventurous new attractions are set to be refused, amid fears they would be “incongruous and unsympathetic” to their surroundings.
Pier operators Openwide International is seeking permission to install a standing surf wave ride on the end of the pier, a nautical-themed high ropes course and a zipline attraction that will launch riders from the pier across the sea to the beach.
It says it desperately needs to entice more people to pay the council-imposed toll fee and venture up the pier. Numerous other options – including a big wheel and a tower – have been ruled out because of the height restrictions put in place for the air festival.
But while planning officers have no problem with the surf wave, they are unhappy with the zip wire and the high ropes course part of the plan.
Their report states: “It is considered that the high ropes course and zipwire structures together would have a detrimental impact on the design and appearance of Bournemouth Pier, which although not a designated or recognised heritage asset, is a prominent and somewhat iconic structure which is important to the appearance and image of the town centre.”
And Mark Smith, the council’s director of tourism, said: “Undoubtedly there is a demand for this type of facility somewhere in Bournemouth and the pier already includes other leisure facilities, also the high visibility of this location would help improve the commercial viability of the project.
“I do not believe that the proposals as currently designed would provide a net benefit to the general aspect of the bay and the iconic pier.”
Rory Holburn, director of Openwide, declined to comment until after the planning meeting on Monday, January 21.
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