Fish and chips are back on the menu on the world’s longest pleasure pier for the first time since it was devastated by fire nearly 14 years ago.
Visitors to Southend Pier can now pick up the seaside staple from a brightly coloured beach hut at end of the 1.3-mile long superstructure.
Fire last struck Southend Pier in October 2005 and despite the council opening a new pavilion and café at the pier head in 2009, the frying of fish and chips on the wooden pier was banned because of the fire risk it posed. Instead, food had to be prepared offsite and transported to the pier.
But thanks to the installation of a high-tech sprinkler, fire main and alarms - combined with advances in fryer technology - fire experts have deemed it safe to get the fryers going again.
Set up by local businessman Darren Lattimer, Southend Pier Fish & Chips is selling cod, scampi, chicken bites, sausage and a selection of pies – all served with chips – as well as hot and cold drinks.
Darren comments: “Last year, I got the all clear to start selling cones of chips to customers from a small beach hut and it proved a real hit with visitors. But people kept telling me they wanted fish and chips.
“So I’ve worked with the pier’s management and have come back this year with a bigger hut and better facilities to bring fish and chips back to the pier.”
Scott Dolling of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, adds: “Although cooking equipment has never been responsible for any of the fires in the pier’s history, we’ve done everything possible to minimise the risk of fire happening again in order to be able to insure the pier and keep it open to the public.
“But now we’re confident that fish and chips can be safely prepared and I couldn’t be happier to see it back in its rightful place.”
Southend Pier Fish & Chips will be open every day the pier is open until the end of the visitor season.