Minister's visit boosts bid to save town's pier

Campaigners fighting to save Hastings Pier were given a major boost when a government minister pledged to help restore seaside towns to their former glories.

Communities Secretary John Denham announced the new policy - which will see Hastings and other deprived coastal towns receive 200,000 each in bonus funding - during a visit to the closed attraction.

And according to the minister, repairing iconic piers is near the top of his agenda. The Hastings Pier and White Trust has been given 75,000 to carry out a full structural survey through the Government's Communitybuilders Fund.

And the minister is hopeful this additional funding will help re invigorate the local jobs market.

Speaking during his trip to 1066 Country last week, Mr Denham said: "Our coastal areas are rich with history anda high quality of life that makes them attractive places to live in and many seafronts have been transformed in recent years with investment and support.

"Places like Hastings are showing they can thrive once again through strong local leadership and dynamic businesses, no longer dependent on British weather, attracting visitors all year round.

"This new strategy will help coastal areas take advantage of the new opportunities and support available - from restoring piers and creating jobs, to improving local housing, and funding creative projects that will develop stronger economies and help ensure the successful future of the British seaside."

And it was a move welcomed by the Hastings Pier and White Trust which hopes to one day take over the running of the currently closed attraction.

Trustee Jess Steele said: "We are pleased about the announcement and the specific mention of restoring iconic piers in the Government's new seaside strategy.

"Our plans for the pier will create a significant number and range of jobs and we look forward to working with Hastings Borough Council to get the best value from this new funding."

The minister also visited the site of the anticipated Jerwood Gallery and the historic fishing fleet of the Old Town. And he also found time to visit Hastings Trust in Cambridge Garden to talk to youngsters taking part on six month paid work placements funding by the Government's Future Jobs Fund.