THE PIER has moved one step closer to being restored to its former glory after the Government gave the green light to compulsory purchase of the structure.
Hastings Borough Council and the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust (HPWRT) can now move ahead with their plans as soon as the trust’s funding is in place.
The Panamanian owner Ravenclaw was issued with the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)after it missed a deadline to start repairs to the pier, (pictured right) which was ravaged by fire almost two years ago.
On Wednesday, the Government confirmed that the CPO can go ahead, and statutory notices will now be served, with a six-week challenge period.
Council leader councillor Jeremy Birch said: “This is excellent news, and a major step forward in returning Hastings Pier to its rightful place as a major attraction on our seafront. I know that a huge amount of work has gone into getting this result, and I would like to thank everyone involved, especially, of course, the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust.”
Chairman of HPWRT Ray Chapman said: “This is truly fantastic news for Hastings as we finally cross this major milestone in the project, however there is still much more work to do.
“In the meantime the HPWRT team would like to personally thank Amber Rudd MP for successfully lobbying the Secretary of State for Culture and Ministerial team, the HPWRT members, volunteers, supporting community and local council in all working together to make this happen.”
The restoration of the pier is a £14 million project, and the HPWRT hopes to secure £11.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in November this year, which will be a major milestone.
The remaining funding is to come from other sources including £400,000 from the Community Shares programme, which will enable local people to take ownership of the pier, and £250,000 from Hastings Borough Council.
The plans for the redesigned pier were drawn up by architects dRMM, and include a new visitor centre, a redeveloped Western Pavilion as a bar and restaurant offering locally sourced produce, and an open space with a wide range of seasonal uses, such as open air cinema, festivals, a market, and an ice rink.
Hastings MP Amber Rudd expressed her delight, and said: “Great news for Hastings! Now the CPO is confirmed we can move ahead with the people’s pier.
“I’m so excited at the prospect of re-building our pier.”
Volunteers are needed to assist with the project. For information visit hpwrt.co.uk/how-you-can-help/.