SOUTHEND'S pier has now reopened to members of the public after the new £3m cultural centre was winched onto the landmark.

The pier was closed on Wednesday evening in readiness for the lift, which saw the £3m centre hoisted by crane from a barge in the Thames onto its foundations at the pier head.

The complex operation commenced shortly before 9am and the centre was finally in place by 11.30am.

Visitors to the pier will be able to see the new centre at close range as contractors put the finishing touches to it in readiness for the official opening in summer.

For the full story and pictures see tomorrow's Echo.