A small group of Southend town councillors have privately admitted that Southend Pier may be forced out of the town after voters in the UK chose to leave the European Union. According to the newly-formed cross-party pier feasibility committee, tourism bosses may be forced to take the structure apart and relocate it somewhere else within the EU, and there are even concerns that it will be installed in a location that doesn’t have any sea.

Cllr Roberto Fadge (UKIP, Barons Court Ward) said: ‘Southend Pier relies heavily on support from the European Union as its status as the longest pier in the world is awarded on an annual basis by the EU’s Pier Installations Survey Service. Unfortunately, a BREXIT would take us out of the EUPISS zone of jurisdiction, and as a result our pier’s main selling point would become unofficial and unverified – this will drive millions of annual visitors away. We simply cannot afford to take a hit in this manner when so many emergency repairs are needed, and therefore we are now exploring the possibility of exporting Southend Pier to another EU state.’

He added: ‘If we do move the pier, we will get the best possible deal for Southend On Sea. Essentially, it will be a franchise arrangement where the pier is provided for a nominal fee, and Southend’s administration will fund the relocation costs. Once it opens up elsewhere, 40% of all profits would be payable to our town’s council as an ongoing franchise charge, and we would also retain the image rights – this means that Southend’s gift shops can continue to use the pier on postcards and other gifts.