A spokesperson for Southend Council has confirmed that Southend Pier will reopen on Saturday after emergency repairs were carried out to the structure. However, the pier will only be open to people who are prepared to walk both ways with the train out of action, and only visitors weighing less than 12 stone will be admitted for health and safety reasons.

The news will come as a massive relief to fans of the pier who were shocked to hear the recent news that cracks had been spotted in some of the structure’s pile caps, whatever they are. Council spokesperson Helen Buckle said: ‘We are delighted to be able to re-open the pier so quickly, but until further notice we will only be able to admit walkers who weigh less than 12 stone – the reason for this is that we cannot afford to place any excessive pressure on the currently affected ‘area of low structural density.’ While this news will disappoint a number of people, we have to stress that avoiding tourists plunging into the sea is our top priority at all times. We are also asking anglers to only use light bait as well, and enforcement officials will be carrying out random checks over the weekend.’

Local visitor Natalie Gunt said that she was ‘devastated’ after travelling all the way from New Zealand to travel along the longest pleasure pier in the world. She said: ‘I am 16 stone exactly, and I am pretty sure that stopping me from walking along the pier is breaching my human rights. To be honest, by the time I push through the entrance gate nobody will be able to stop me anyway.’