THE dilapidated Totland Pier is to be transformed and rebuilt over the next three months.

The pier has been a blot on the West Wight landscape for several years but work will finally start on it next Saturday, using specialist equipment.

Contractor Clynt Wellington, of Rebus Construction, said: "The initial phase will be like something out of Star Wars.

"We have had a purpose built crane made for the job, and this itself will be winched over the cafe onto the pier by another crane.

"The lattice beams have all be pre-made and our crane will just drop them into place as it moves along the pier. It is a bit like the way the old railway tracks were laid.

"This means there will be no scaffolding and no unloading off barges and it makes the job so much simpler. We estimate, weather permitting, it should be finished within three months.

"We have all the hardwood joists brought over from Guyana waiting to be delivered from Scotland, so everything is in place.

"We are working with the cafe, which will remain open. But at some point, possibly next winter, it will be closed while we rebuild it. Again, we have a prefab structure already made, so it would not be shut for long.

"We also have planning permission for a house to be built at the end of the pier and it will be constructed on a massive hammerhead. So once it is all complete it will transform the look of Totland Bay.

"We've experienced a lot of difficulties along the way for a variety of reasons, but thanks to the support of Marine Leisure, who have allowed us to cordon off the beach five-metres either side of the pier for health and safety, and Totland Parish Council and Cllr John Howe, we can finally get things moving."

A Totland Parish Council spokesperson said: "Obviously, the council is delighted the work is starting again."

The pier was originally built in 1880 but the structure fell into serious decline and finally closed to the public in 1980 when the pier was declared unsafe.

In the 1990s the pier was purchased by a local artist who converted the hut at the end of the pier to an artist studio.