Hastings pier plan moving forwards

ONLY one letter of objection to the council’s compulsory purchase of Hastings Pier has been received, and those involved are confident it will be in safe hands by the end of the year.

In December last year, the Panama-based owners Ravenclaw were given two months by Hastings Borough Council to start work on the fire-damaged pier, but due to inaction, they were issued with a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in March.

Since the CPO was advertised, one objection has been received, but Councillor Peter Chowney, lead member for Regeneration, said: “While I’m not able, legally, to disclose details of who has objected I can say it’s not someone from Hastings and more significantly it’s not the current owner of the pier.

“Everyone in Hastings is behind this CPO and I really do hope that the Secretary of State, whose job it is to determine the next part of the process, will listen to the whole of Hastings and not let this one objection form part of his decision making.”

He added that he is confident that even if there were a public inquiry, this would only be delaying the inevitable, and the pier would eventually be handed over to the Hastings Pier Charity.

Simon Opie, chairman of the Hastings Pier and White Rock which administers the charity, said: “We are making tremendous progress with the Compulsory Purchase Order and there is a very real chance we will own the Pier by the end of 2012.

“We are also progressing extremely well with our project’s development phase and will be applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for our main funding by mid-2012, so both funding and ownership are in our sights.

“This really is a great prospect for our members and supporters.”