Pier Future Is Clearer

The owners of a fire-damaged pier will be forced to relinquish control of the historic structure after failing to start repair work

Hastings Pier was ravaged by fire following an arson attack in October 2010.

The Grade II listed pier, in East Sussex, has been left a burnt-out eyesore by its Panama-registered owner Ravenclaw Investments, which has ignored numerous requests from Hastings Borough Council to restore the Victorian structure to its former glory.

Following the expiry of a legal repair notice which was tied to the pier's gates in December last year, Councillor Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration, said it would be issuing a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on March 19 to regain control of the pier.

He said: ``We have given Ravenclaw every chance to put things right and yet again they have failed to face their responsibilities.

``That being the case, we will issue a compulsory purchase order on the week beginning March 19.

``We will continue working with the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust for the future of this important landmark.''

In December, the council sent Ravenclaw notices asking it to begin repairs within two months or face a CPO.

No one from Ravenclaw could be reached for comment.

The Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust wants to refurbish the pier with modern attractions using money secured through grants.

About 95% of the pier, which had been closed since 2006, was damaged in the arson attack in the early hours of October 5, 2010.

Two men, then aged 18 and 19, were arrested shortly afterwards but the Crown Prosecution Service announced in April last year that there was not enough evidence to bring charges.

The pier, which was designed by Eugenius Birch and opened in 1872, was originally 910ft long.

It hosted a mix of dancing, slot machines, rifle ranges, bowling alleys, bingo, funfair rides and all-night raves, as well as staging big name concerts featuring artists including the Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Bob Marley.