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4 March 2014, 00:00
Work is beginning on the renovation of Hastings Pier.
Marking the start of a new phase in the renovation of Hastings Pier today (Tuesday 4th March 2014) will see the very first piece of new decking laid onto the pier structure by Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Hastings, Sarah Owen. There will also be a cheque donation of £5,000 presented to Hastings Pier Charity from GMB.
The donation will contribute toward the community share offer, which has raised £260k to date; "this money is needed to fund what we want on the pier," said charity CEO, Simon Opie, " bar and brasserie, deckchair rental, children's playground, a Heritage Centre, space for weddings and civil ceremonies, farmers' market - attractions that will bring locals and visitors alike to the new pier."
The charity has already raised £13.7m through the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources to fund the engineering works needed.
The Pier has suffered quite a lot over the past ten years.
In June 2006, following the serving of a closure notice by Hastings Council, the pier was closed. However, in 2007, Stylus Sports paid for repair work to be carried out beneath the former theatre. The central section of the pier was then re-opened in July 2007, only to be temporarily closed again a few weeks later following a storm.
In March 2008, further damage was caused to the seaward end of the pier during strong winds and very rough seas and in September that same year, the Hasting Pier and White Rock Trust , a local campaign group, submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the rescue and redevelopment of the pier.
In July 2010 Hastings Borough Council pursued a compulsory purchase order for the pier. If successful the council would then hand over the keys to Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust, which had begun looking for funding for structural repairs and refurbishment.
Then, in the early hours of October 5th 2010, a devastating fire swept through the pier, destroying most of the super-structure. The destruction of most of the pier was an immense tragedy for the people of Hastings and particularly the members of the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust who had fought so hard to have the pier restored and brought back into public use.
Throughout 2011, the local Council employed experts to assess the full extent of the damage to the pier and attempted to get the owners, the Panamanian registered Ravenclaw, to carry out repair work to stabilise the structure. When this proved unsuccessful, the Council began steps to compulsorily purchase the pier, the intention being to work with the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust to restore the pier to its former glory.
In October 2011,Simon Opie, who had worked successfully improving Euro Disney in Paris and set up Madame Tussaud attractions around the world was appointed as the Chief Executive of the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust.
The following month, Hastings Borough Council agreed to serve a formal repairs notice on the pier owner, Ravenclaw, giving them 2 months to start repair work or they would seek a compulsory purchase order to save the pier. By March 2012, Ravenclaw had failed to respond to the Council's approaches and so solicitors issued a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).
Also in May 2012, the first plans of the restored pier were published and made available on the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust website
In November 2012 it was announced that the Heritage Lottery Fund had awarded Hastings Pier a grant of £11.4 million towards the total project cost of £13.9 million for the rescue and restoration of the Pier.
On Thursday 15th. August 2013 the Compulsory Purchase Order was enforced and ownership passed to the Hastings Pier charity.