A plan to boost tourism in Brightlingsea by building a replica of the Eiffel Tower on the Hard has been approved by Tendring District Council.
The 100m tall structure – a one-third scale copy of the iconic Paris landmark – is expected to draw thousands of tourists to the town, and create hundreds of jobs for local residents, bringing a huge boost to the town's economy following lockdowns.
The tower is the brainchild of the Tendring Recovery Group, which has been tasked with ensuring that the economy in the district recovers after Covid lockdowns. "We saw the old mooring dolphins and immediately thought of the Eiffel Tower," said a spokesman for the government-funded group. "With the dolphins scheduled for removal we thought that Brightlingsea residents would appreciate something on the Hard that looked similar and would benefit the town at the same time. And if travel restrictions remain, it will remind people of holidays in France."
High-speed lifts will whisk visitors up the tower, which will feature a 360-degree panoramic viewing platform and champagne bar at the top, and an upmarket fish and oyster restaurant called Poisson d'Avril half-way up.
Views from the top will be spectacular. "On a clear day we expect to be able to see Jaywick, where there'll be replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the old market site," said the TRG spokesman. Essex police will install CCTV cameras on the tower so they can spot dog walkers who fail to bag dog mess, inconsiderate pavement parking and people breaking bylaws by cycling along the prom. "It's a win-win for tourism and law and order," added the spokesman.
To cope with the expected influx of visitors, Hurst Green, the recreation ground in Regent Road and the playing fields off Lower Park Road will be turned in to car parks, with a park and ride service ferrying people to a ticket office located in a new interactive Smack Dock Experience visitor centre in the dinghy park next to the Colne Yacht Club.
The tower is expected to open on April 1, 2022.