Both residents of Southend and tourists alike have expressed their OUTRAGE after it was announced this afternoon that Southend Pier has been sold to a Chinese shipping company for £1.4m – the news means that the longest pleasure pier in the world will close permanently on 1st May 2016 before it is taken apart. According to a joint statement from Southend Council and Xi Ping Shipping, the ‘attractive offer’ was made due to concerns about the Asian shipping giant’s upcoming new fleet of super-wide Monster Freight Vessels (codenamed the 藜麦 fleet), and a group of shipping logistics experts have all agreed that the 55m-wide ships could accidentally hit the pier and cause millions of pounds worth of damage to both the existing structure and the new freight liners.

A spokesperson for the Southend Tourism Alliance said: ‘While a small number of local people may be disappointed by this announcement, there was always a danger of this happening when the DP World Superport opened near Stanford-le-Hope, and it’s not like there isn’t anything else to attract visitors to Southend. In just a few months, we will have a seafront lagoon that will give Barbados a run for its money, and more importantly the two sides of Adventure Island will finally be reunited by the pier’s removal like North and South Korea – it will create one enormous and continuous theme park. We understand that the pier did provide a fascinating platform for photographers to create stunning masterpieces, but to be honest we are trying to discourage any sort of cameras being used anywhere near the seafront and town centre for a number of reasons.’

We asked for more details about how the £1.4m will be spent, and he was convinced that the cash will provide a much-needed boost to the tourism industry. He added: ‘First of all, a small amount of that money will be put aside to create the five parking spaces that will be lost when the Seaway Car Park development goes ahead, and as it stands these will be spread across all other town centre car parks. Once we have paid for the successful relocation of the Cultural Centre and café from the end of the pier to Priory Park, any remaining funds will be used to create a statue on the seafront depicting some of the most influential businessmen to have ever invested in our tourism industry.’

In a late development, Southend News Network can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that Xi Ping Shipping could make a profit of anything up to £150m on the deal. Under the contract that has been signed with Southend Council, the Chinese company will be entitled to keep all of the materials that have been used in the pier’s construction, and an email that has been leaked to Southend News Network shows that a ‘significant proportion’ of the current structure is made from incredibly rare emerald wood – this particular type of tree has been extinct since 1965, and its timber often sells for huge amounts of money at auction.

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