THE final stage of a huge refurbishment of Harwich’s Ha’Penny Pier is set to start next week.

Phase two of the £340,000 project will see worn wooden beams and piles replaced at the pier, which is one of only two remaining working timber piers in the country.

The structural refurbishment started in 2016 in a bid to preserve the Victorian legacy of the popular attraction.

Harwich Haven Authority, which owns the pier, has appointed Essex-based Amicus Civil Engineering to carry out the refurbishment.

The works will be isolated to the far end of the pier, but it has been confirmed access to the Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry and the Café on the Pier will not be affected.

Neil Glendinning, chief executive of the Harwich Haven Authority, said: “As Harwich’s most loved landmark and one of the last remaining working wooden piers in the UK we’re committed to maintaining and preserving Ha’penny Pier for future generations to enjoy.

“The works have been planned outside of the summer season to minimise disruption and the pier will be back open to the public in time for the New Year’s Eve Firework display.”

The Ha’Penny Pier opened in July 1853 and was initially known as the Corporation Pier.

It was originally twice as long as the present structure, but one half was destroyed in a fire in the early 20th century.

It was the main departure point for all ships leaving Harwich up until the Harwich International Port was built in 1883, and was renamed the Ha’Penny Pier due to the half penny toll charge to go on.

The first phase of refurbishment work started in October last year and saw timber piles replaced, along with a number of timber beams and bracing.

Mr Glendinning added: “As proud guardians of Ha’penny Pier we strive to maintain its safety and heritage for the local community, tourists, leisure sailors, fishermen and other users.

“All the repairs will be carried out with the local community in mind, striving to keep disruption to an absolute minimum while works go on.”