FINAL touches are being made to a £1 million-plus project as Clacton Pier prepares for its biggest makeover in 50 years.

The plans are to create a 52-week-a-year undercover venue to attract visitors to the town.

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Rides and other equipment inside the entrance to the pier and under the concourse have been completely removed, which has opened up more than 20,000sqft, of space for the revamp.

A new £75,000 transformer will provide the power to run the 6.5-acre site as the pier’s previous power supply was the original one, dating back to the 1930s.

The transformer is already live, but a full switch-over is planned for the week starting Monday, January 22.

Pier director Billy Ball said the final details are being rubber-stamped with the bank so the work can go ahead.

He said: “Preparations began back in October and a great deal has been achieved in a short term to get the site ready for the construction side of the project to get underway.

“We had hoped to be in a position before Christmas to reveal the full extent of what we are planning, but we now aim to be able to do that later this month.

“We do not want to unveil the whole scheme until all the paperwork is completed and I think people will be really excited when they see what is to be undertaken over the next year or so.”

The new, efficient transformer will be safer to run and Mr Ball says it will be easier for the fire brigade to reach if there are any incidents.

Before the project is complete, the pier will need to be closed to the public for up to five days and special generators will be brought in to run the Seaquarium and food outlets.

Temporary arrangements will also be made for the navigational aids at the end of the structure used by boats.

Over the five-day period, only maintenance and security staff will be allowed on site Mr Ball added: “The pier will look in complete darkness at times and it may seem as though it has been closed down.

“However, nothing could be further from the truth and it will soon return to life with the most exciting upgrade for five decades taking place.”