PLANS to revamp Clacton Pier’s oldest building will cost around £4million, it has been revealed.

Architects appointed for the scheme have completed the design with the necessary drawings and the project for the Jolly Roger is expected to take about 18 months to carry out.

A special survey needed to be undertaken due to the asbestos and lead paint involved in the 126-year-old structure, and solutions have been found to the problems.

The next stage will be to look at how to come up with the necessary funding to go forward with the programme of work.

Six months ago, the pier received a £50,000 Government grant to proceed with a feasibility study for the scheme.

The funding from the Coastal Revival Fund was ring-fenced for a survey of the structure, to develop a condition report, provide concept drawings, structural designs and to calculate a budget for the costs of the refurbishment.

Pier director Billy Ball said significant progress has been made and virtually all the information needed is now on the table.

“We are now at the point where things are starting to come together nicely – we have a building design, programme of work and a cost plan, thanks to the £50,000 grant,” he said.

“The next important step will be to start looking for the money to accomplish this ambitious project and that will undoubtedly involve further bids for funding from various sources.

“The Jolly Roger was built in 1893 and the age alone has presented us with a number of challenges, but we have come up with ways of taking this scheme forward.

“The aim is to retain the main historical features of this iconic building, while creating a venue that could be home to sporting and entertainment events, conferences, meetings, weddings and other community activities.”

Jake Berry, Minister for Local Growth, said he is delighted that Clacton Pier’s renovation is entering this “exciting” phase thanks to £50,000 from the Coastal Revival Fund.

“Restoring the pier’s oldest building will be a huge investment in the future of this coastal town and an important way of attracting visitors while preserving this iconic landmark for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations,” he added.

The Jolly Roger will be a two-floor venue with a ground floor and a first floor which can be retracted to make one larger space if needed.

The Coastal Revival Fund is looking to support the revival of heritage assets important to local communities, but which have not reached their full economic potential – or are facing neglect.

It also builds on the Government’s intention to deliver a landmark sector deal for the UK’s tourism industry, attracting more visitors and help drive major growth.

“The Jolly Roger, as it currently stands, has nowhere near maxed out its economic potential, but these plans will help us to do just that,” added Mr Ball.

“We need to make every square inch of the pier pay for itself and serve the local community wherever possible 52 weeks a year.”