WORK has started at Swanage Pier Marine Villas as part of a wider £2.2m restoration project

The Swanage Pier Trust project will eventually see the villas and the pier, which are both Grade-II listed, renovated.

Although Swanage Pier itself has existed since 1859, the current pier was opened in 1897, with the Swanage Pier Trust acquiring it 1994.

Government funding has previously enabled repairs to the pier structure itself, but now this major restoration project - taken on by Greendale Construction - has commenced at the two-storey Marine Villas site.

Ben Adeney, chief executive of Swanage Pier Trust confirmed: "We are now able to get underway with the Swanage Pier regeneration plans, thanks to the incredible support of the local community, the Heritage Lottery Fund, trusts, foundations and local authority.

"We are delighted that the Marine Villas restoration project is in the experienced hands of Greendale Construction who will create an amazing area for the local authority."

The work will include construction of a new partially glazed structure extension, forming a new seated cafe area and internal alterations to facilitate new toilets, a commercial kitchen, and a platform lift to first floor offices.

Repairs and alterations to the structure of the building will also take place, with the introduction of load bearing glass floor panels to allow viewing of the historic saltwater baths below the ground floor.

Greendale Construction director Rob Hooker said: "Greendale is delighted to be on-board with this exciting and historically important restoration of the Swanage Pier Marine Villas.

"The work, which is due for completion in July 2018, will not only bring back to life this Georgian building, but also bring in many new visitors to the area, who will be able to learn more about the history of Swanage Pier and the Marine Villas."