Pier plans take huge step forward as £750,000 Government funding secured

THE PIER has received another massive boost as it was announced this morning (Monday) that £750,000 of funding from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund has been approved.

This money will be used to set up the Pavilion Restaurant, and means that Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust (HPWRT) has now secured £12.15 million of the £13.9 million needed for the rebuilding project.

In total £1.2 million is to come to Hastings from the Coastal Communities Fund, thanks to a successful bid by Hastings Borough Council.

Simon Opie, chief executive of HPWRT, said: “This is a massive step forward for the pier, and will help us meet our funding target and finally start work on the rebuilding project.

In addition to the funding for the pier, £443,000 is to go to Sussex Coast College to establish a Coastal Industries Academy.

This will provide specialist skills-related training for people who wouldn’t normally attend a college.

The idea is for students from the college to be taken on at the pier’s Pavilion Restaurant as apprentices, similar to Jamie Oliver’s ‘15’ restaurants.

Mr Opie added: “It is a tremendous endorsement of our plans from central Government and reinforces our commitment to making the Pier a gateway to employability for the local community.

“I really look forward to the amazing training opportunities that our Pier restaurant will offer, in particular to local young people. Our thanks are due to Hastings Borough Council for leading this innovative bid and to Amber Rudd MP, for lobbying so tirelessly on our behalf.”

Work on the pier is set to begin this spring, and the hope is to have it open to visitors by the end of next year.

The bulk of the money for rebuilding the pier is to come from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was announced that the HPWRT’s bid for £11.4 million was successful in November last year.

A total of £18 million was available nationally for coastal communities to bid for, and Hastings received one of the largest grants in the country.

Councillor Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration, said: “This is tremendous news for Hastings, and will benefit Hastings Pier, Sussex Coast College Hastings, and, of course, the wider community and the town’s visitor economy.”