RIDES at Clacton Pier will now remain open all year round for the first time in the landmark’s history.

It means the outdoor rides will remain in operation every weekend and all school holidays...depending on the weather.

Pier director Billy Ball said it is something which has been in the pipeline for some time and this winter will be a trial to see if the initiative is viable.

“We have been thinking about the idea over the past couple of seasons and we feel now is the right time to give it a go,” he said.

“We would normally close the rides after our November fireworks extravaganza and not open any of them up again until February half term.

“Now that we have moved to an all-year-round business with other attractions open 364 days a year, we feel that we can include the rides at weekends and school holidays.”

Mr Ball added like all other times of the year the pier will reserve the right to close them down at any time if the weather conditions threaten to make the attractions unsafe.

“The safety of customers and staff must always remain our top priority and problems can occur when there are strong winds or heavy rain,” he said.

“However, we often enjoy some great sunny days in the winter and it is just something else that we can add to our improving offer.

“It is all about providing as much as we possibly can for 52 weeks of fun for residents and visitors alike.

“Although we do not have many people holidaying in the area during the winter, a lot of people come down to visit family – especially over Christmas and new year - and may enjoy the chance to go on the rides at a time when it is less busy.”

Mr Ball added that there are about 15 outdoor rides operating on the pier at any one time, along with all the indoor attractions.

A new White Water Log Flume is due to come into action later this month and the Looping Star Roller Coaster is due to be added for next season, provided repairs to the ride deck can be carried out in time.