RIDES at Clacton Pier have been stripped to their nuts and bolts for inspections ahead of a £1 million plus investment.

Staff at the landmark, which was built in 1871, are preparing for what promises to be their busiest and most exciting season ever.

Pier bosses expect to make a announcement about a significant investment before Christmas.

Work is already well underway to ensure the pier is ready in time to accommodate the changes, which are aimed at making the six acre site a 52-week a year attraction.

All 17 rides have been stripped and have undergone a thorough inspection by independent specialists Amusement Device Inspections.

Pier director Billy Ball said the programme is undertaken every year, but this time he is hoping to have it completed and the rides put back together by Christmas, rather than in February as was the case last year.

He said: “It is a large and important job and ensures all our rides will have had their full MoT ready for next season.

“They are all stripped down to their component parts and tested mechanically, structurally and electrically.

“We employ the inspection company about 30 days a year and it is money well spent to have that peace of mind that all our rides are up to the highest standards.”

Mr Ball and his brother, fellow director Elliot, are having final meetings to sort out the details of a major revamp for the pier. Rides undercover on the left of the entrance to the pier will be moved outside to make way for new attractions.

A master plan has been drawn up and the main structural changes will begin in the new year.

Mr Ball said: “It is important we are prepared for what will be the biggest change and busiest season for the 146-year-old attraction for many years.

“The pier will be remaining open throughout this process and customers will soon start to notice significant changes and improvements.

“We expect It will take around 18 months to complete the project.”