THE OWNERS of Hastings Pier have been given two months to start repair work on the dilapidated structure or face it being taken out of their control.
Ravenclaw Investments, which is registered in Panama, now has two months to respond to the borough council or face a compulsory purchase order. Since the fire, Ravenclaw has failed to respond to any approaches from the council.
At a cabinet meeting recently, councillors unanimously decided to send a Repairs Notice letter to Ravenclaw.
A report by head of regeneration, Monica Adams-Acton, recommended that following purchase the ownership of the structure should be transferred to the Hastings Pier Charity.
The pier was devastated by an arson attack in October 2010 and repair work was backed by an £118,000 grant from English Heritage.
The authority has already spent more than £200,000 making the structure safe and council leader Jeremy Birch said he was fed up of dealing with ‘unaccountable and neglectful owners’.
He said: “This is a statement that we really mean business here. We have been dealing with unaccountable and neglectful owners.
“I don’t know where we will send the letter - we might as well pin it to the front of the pier.
“But I very much doubt that Ravenclaw will reappear and say ‘that’s ours.’
“We are pressing the go button here.”
Conservative leader Matthew Lock added: “The sooner we see Ravenclaw Investments taken out of this town the better.”
In May this year the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust was successful in getting through the first round of an two-stage process in their application for an £8.75million grant from the Heritage Lottery fund.
The trust has been given an initial grant of £347,000 to help fund the development of a detailed business plan needed to submit a second stage proposal.
The one building which survived the fire has been plagued by vandalism and the trust recently commissioned a survey to identify options for safeguarding the structure from further attacks.
Last month former Disney chief Simon Opie was appointed chief executive of the trust on a full time basis.