Campaign steps up to save Pier Field

Pier Field, Skegness
Pier Field, Skegness

Campaigners are stepping up their fight to save a seafront site in Skegness from development.

East Lindsey District Council has announced it is looking to potentially sell Pier Field, which could be the location for a Premier Inn hotel.

A 700-strong signature petition opposing the sale was handed in to the council on Wednesday.

It follows the launch of a public consultation by the council earlier this month over the sale of the site.

The petition calling for Pier Field to be kept as open space is backed by local business owners, residents and holidaymakers.

The campaign is being organised by the Save the Foreshore Group and Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association (SECWHA).

A letter of objection issued on behalf of the two groups states: “The land has been a public park and amenity for nearly 100 years.”

It adds that the foreshore provides a ‘major attraction’ for visitors with development likely to cause ‘dramatic damage’ to neighbouring 
hotel and guest house businesses.

The Save the Foreshore Group was set up after the hotel chain revealed its interest in Pier Field in 
June.

Supporters believe they could seek a judicial review challenging any decision to develop the site and are donating cash to cover legal costs.

Co-chairman Nigel Underwood, who owns the Savoy Hotel and Suncastle pub on Skegness seafront, said after a meeting to discuss the site: “There are grounds for a challenge. The foreshore is earmarked as parkland and covenants on the land made it clear that this should be recreational space for benefit of the community.

“The council has been using the field as a car park and it is very hard to organise any events there.”

The consultation ended on Monday.

Skegness town councillor Maggie Gray said: “Pier Field was intended for the recreational use of the residents of Skegness and that should not be taken away.”

The district council’s Executive Board is due to decide whether to approve the sale on January 13.

The petition comes after East Lindsey District Council placed a notice in the press concerning the potential sale of the site.

A statement from East Lindsey District Council said: “No planning application has been submitted by any developer for the site.

“The sale of a piece of land is separate from the planning process and would be subject to contract and planning consent being secured.

“The public notice is a statutory notice placed prior to the council considering the sale of any land and is a requirement under the Local Government Act.”

At time of going to press no one was available 
from Premier Inn for comment.