It Must Be Love Madness
5 October 2010, 15:27
Heart has spoken to the Chairman of the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust following the fire that's devestated 95 per cent of the structure above the main deck
Hastings Borough Council leader Jeremy Birch said surveyors may be able to tell whether the pier can be salvaged in as little as two months.
He said he had ``no idea'' whether it was insured as its ``totally absentee owner'' Ravenclaw had not been in touch for a number of years.
The council was in the process of taking over the pier in a compulsory purchase following pressure from local campaign group the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust.
They wanted to then gain control over the future of the structure, which has been closed and left to become derelict for the past four years, and apply for funding as a charity with the aim of restoring it to its former glory.
Mr Birch said: ``All that obviously has changed since half past one when the pier caught fire.
``Now possibly 95% of the building has been destroyed.''
He said the council will now ensure a full survey is carried out on the listed substructure. Most of the buildings on top of the pier itself were built post-war, with some added as late as the 1990s so are less important, he said.
Mr Birch said the pier was an ``iconic building'' that was ``cherished'' by local people.
``It's in the hearts of Hastings people. It's a building that everybody knows; it's on every postcard.''
He added: ``In terms of the tourist industry we wanted to sustain what we had. We'd rather not have a derelict, fire-ridden wreck sitting on the seafront.
``We'd rather have a thriving pier that was attracting people and we're going to have to see what we can do when we know what the damage to the structure is.''
Mr Birch said he would be ``surprised'' if the fire was started by someone who did not want to see the pier restored.
``I'm sorry to say that if this is proven to be arson, I think it's vandalism and arson for the sake of watching flames rather than anyone with any deeper motivation.''
The trust hoping to run Hastings Pier will be running boat trips around the structure on Sat 9th and Sun 10th October so people can see the damage for themselves.
Half of the £15 fee goes to the trust, you get 30 minutes for your money.
The trust has also got a collection licence and will be rattling tins in the town.
The fire which destroyed 95 per cent of the structure above the deck was officially declared to be out yesterday lunchtime
These pictures were taken by PA, listeners and Heart staff