Pier supporters dig deep for its rebuild

An artist's impression of what the completed pier may look like
An artist's impression of what the completed pier may look like

GENEROUS members of the community have dug deep into their pockets to raise a staggering £350,000 in just six months to rebuild Hastings Pier.

Since the share offer was launched in October, the scheme has attracted 1,600 shareholders to the Pier Charity’s drive to hit £500,000.

The vast majority have been small investors from the Hastings area.

Work to rebuild the landmark structure is well under way and on course to open next Spring.

The money raised through community shares is being used to complete the rebuild funds and building of attractions on the landmark building.

Among those being discussed are a restaurant under the guidance of Jamie Grainger-Smith who opened Jamie Oliver’s ‘15’ restaurant in Shoreditch.

Mr Grainger-Smith will work as general manager .

There are also plans being discussed to create a micro-brewery on the pier - which could be the first of its kind in the country.

The Pier Charity is now in a final push to raise the last £150,000 with its share offer set to close at midnight on Saturday.

Laurence Bell, owner of the White Rock Hotel, has invested £10,000 in shares.

Plans for the pier include an urban park for funfairs, a circus, open-air cinema and theatre, farmers’ markets and deck-chair hire whilst a Heritage Centre, mirrored on the outside to reflect the seaside views, will house a memory bank for the pier’s history. The work of collating those memories, from residents old and young, will begin over the Summer with the aim of

creating a living history of the pier from recorded recollections and photographs.

Tim Fordham-Moss, spokesman for the Pier Charity, said: “It is a great amount of money in six months and a lot has come from small, local investors.

“And the good thing is the pier will always be run by its shareholders. It’s about community shareholding.

“The extra money will fund the attractions and heritage centre. We always knew the town was very keen on its pier.”

Simon Opie, chief executive officer of the Pier Charity, said: “The whole purpose of the new pier is to create jobs and prosperity for the town.

“We can revitalise the seafront and offer locals and visitors alike a real reason to visit the pier again and again.

“This last week is vital to reach our target and make the new Hastings Pier as successful as it deserves to be.”