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Pier lives to fight another day

Supporters of the Queen's Pier in Ramsey are celebrating what could be a significant step forward for the structure.

Tynwald has unanimously agreed a steering group should be formed to look into the potential for either refurbishing the Victorian landmark, or incorporating it into a privately funded marina development.

The group will report back by November with full costings for both options.

During a three hour debate some members questioned whether any expenditure on the pier could be justified in the current economic climate, when there were other more pressing demands.

But there was also a strong feeling that it represented an opportunity to give Manx heritage "freedom to flourish".

Chairman of the Friends of Queen's Pier Fred Hodgson says it's no surprise there were such divided opinions, as the pier has always been "a political football".

He told Manx Radio:

"Everybody wants something in their backyard and everybody seems to think it's Ramsey's problem.

"It isn't, it's a national asset, it's a national heritage artefact, and the people of the Isle of Man have voted 81 per cent (in favour of retaining it), and Tynwald have listened."

The motion was put forward by chairman of the Council of Ministers Working Group on the pier, Phil Gawne, MHK.

He says the chief minister will now form the steering group which will look at the options in more detail, and hopes it gets to work as soon as possible.

(Picture: Queen's Pier, Ramsey from manxscenes.com).

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