Sunderland’s controversial pier gates are shining again

Roker Pier's glass reflective panels have been put back in place.
Roker Pier's glass reflective panels have been put back in place.
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ROKER’S “reflective” pier gates have finally got their reflective panels back – two years after they were removed.

The glass on the “Lightwave” gates has been missing since the beginning of 2012, shortly after the gates were put up.

Last September, the Echo revealed how the panels had been packed up in cardboard boxes, and left gathering dust in Roker Resorts Office.

Designed by artist Fiona Heron, the £111,300 gates were built at the entrance to the pier at the beginning of 2012.

The gates were criticised, and compared to a “rusty cell door”, after they appeared to quickly discolour while the panels were removed and placed in storage.

Following “dialogue” between the gates’ manufacturers and artist, the panels were finally put back in place earlier this month.

Malcolm Smithson, 45, of Monkwearmouth, said: “I didn’t even realise they were supposed to reflect the light.

“To me, the whole thing just looks like a big, old iron gate; it’s not very attractive.

Wife Michelle, 42, agreed. She said: “You’d have thought they would have at least had some writing or a picture on them.”

The reflective panels have been put back in place as part of ongoing restoration work on the pier.

Last September, the city council received £53,200 of Heritage Lottery funding to develop plans for the further restoration of the pier and lighthouse.

In total, the council has earmarked funds of £1.3m towards restoration works and these include replacing the surface of the pier.

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said: “Works at Roker Pier are ongoing.”