A look at Epic World Leisure’s plans for the Pier
Southend-on-Sea based Epic World Leisure has big plans for Southend Pier, and have submitted a proposal to the local council to invest around £45 million on Southend’s most famous attraction.
On this page, we take a look at what Epic World Leisure are planning, and get to talk to the company’s Chairman about what they’re planning, and how this could affect the town.
In July 2006, the Southend Podcast team were invited to attend a presentation by Epic World Leisure to a small number of locals, at their Weston Road offices. The presentation consisted of a detailed overview of what Epic World are hoping to be able to do with the pier, and a number of artist’s impressions of what the pier would look like if Epic World Leisure are to be given the go-ahead.
After the presentation, we were able to spend some time interviewing Tony Garner, Epic World Leisure’s Chairman and CEO, for our podcast. Tony, pictured on the right, has been a director of Epic World Leisure since its inception in 1995, and has been a Southend resident for over twenty years. For the interview, we asked Tony to give us a summary of his company’s proposal, and asked him a series of questions based on the presentation we’d just seen – these includes questions on the impact to Southend, proposed changes to the pier railway, how the changes would affect tourism in the area, and to tell us more about the rollercoaster that forms the centrepiece of the proposal.
We’ll be using parts of our interview with Epic World Leisure in the first show in the Southend Podcast series, which is due later in 2006. However. as the plans for Southend Pier are of interest to the people of Southend now, we’ve decided to release our interview with Tony Garner in full, on this site.
Listen to our interview online
The interview is approximately 16 mins long, and you can listen to it online by clicking here.
You can also download this as an MP3 file (7.5Meg) to play on your MP3 player, by right-clicking on the above link and selecting ‘Save target as’.
The plans for the pier include the following:
- Changes to the foreshore end, including: A new pavilion, with space for the Pier Museum. There’ll also be a nightclub.
- Changes to the trains: Re-instating the second track, providing new trains (with aircon and audio/visual), and new stations at both ends
- Changes to the pier head, including, extreme sports, restaurants, bars and cafes, a 4D theatre, an observation sundeck, a conference centre, and an over-water rollercoaster.
The new rollercoaster, off the pier head
The pier will be ‘themed’, based on the Jules Verne Nautilus stories, under the name “Atlantis City”
Artist’s impression of the Atlantis City pier head
The cost? £45 million. Epic World Leisure are a commercial concern, and their plans involve leasing the pier from the local council, meaning that the pier itself is still owned by the council, but run as a commercial operation that pays rent to the council. As part of the proposal, Epic World are proposing to scrap pier admission fees, and make it free to walk or take a train to and from the pier head.
Due to the current state of the pier, much of the proposed investment is to strengthen, repair and replace parts of the pier, with safety as a key focus, and the end benefit is a stronger pier, that presents no drain to the council’s funds, and gives people a reason to visit Southend’s main claim to fame. If these plans are rejected by Southend Council, you have to wonder what will happen to the pier over the coming years.
If you’re interested in learning more about Epic World Leisure’s plans for Southend Pier, you can go to their website at www.atlantiscity.co.uk/, or call their office on 01702-343001
If you have anything to say on the state of the pier, or Epic World Leisure’s plans, we’d love to hear from you, in our Southend forum – please post a message
We’re also interested in your views on what should happen to the pier:
Your vote: What should be done with the Pier?
View result without voting
Southend forum – Have your say on the pier’s future, or anything else on Southend