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Council refuses "overbearing" zip wire plan for Bournemouth pier
A RAFT of new attractions at Bournemouth Pier has been refused planning permission, despite assurances that they could create more than 30 jobs.
Openwide International, which has a lease agreement on the pier, wanted to install a nautical-themed high ropes course and a zip line attraction to launch riders across the sea to the beach. The company also sought approval for a standing surf wave ride on the landmark structure.
Openwide International director Rory Holburn said the proposals would ‘enthral, entertain and deliver fun for all ages’, pointing out that the current pier toll charge deters up to 70 per cent of customers from visiting the historic attraction.
He told the council’s planning board: “It needs to stand out if the pier is to appeal to the paying public. It will deliver significant new revenue to the council; the indoor theatre development cannot happen without this outdoor scheme.”
However planning officer Steve Davies described the pier as ‘a heritage asset’ and voiced concern over the visual impact of the proposals.
He added: “The rope scaffold structure is virtually as high as the existing pier tower. It’s almost mutton dressed as lamb.”
Moving that the application be refused, Cllr Mike Green described the high ropes course as ‘a significant structure’ and branded the plans ‘a bit overbearing’.
Vice-chairman Cllr Ron Whittaker seconded the move, adding: “Bournemouth is crying out for leisure facilities; please don’t spoil the end of the pier. We want quality facilities.”
However Cllr Roger West supported the application. He said: “I would be happy to grant this. I have never understood the concept of a toll charge on the pier; I think it’s a bit of a rip-off.”
Cllr Sue Anderson said: “It’s a brilliant idea; it’s just ugly”, while Cllr Beryl Baxter said: “I’m quite excited about the zip wire but have concerns about the high ropes.”
Following the meeting, Mr Holburn said: “We are disappointed that the council turned our plans down because we believed that they would have brought great entertainment and fun to the Pier.
“But we are staying optimistic and will try hard to see if we can make the zip line work in the future.”