From: Julia Hilton, Secretary, Hastings and Rye Green Party
This week Friends of Hastings Pier have been fighting right up to the line to keep the precious community asset of the pier in public hands.
An impromptu demonstration on Wednesday night resulted in nationwide coverage in the Daily Mail, Express, Telegraph and The Guardian for the Friends of Hastings Pier’s imaginative and bold business plan for the pier.
Now we know that the administrators and HLF have sold this much-loved pier, saved from the ashes with public money, to Mr Abid Gulzar, the owner of Eastbourne Pier.
Throughout this fight there has been deafening silence from our local politicians.
Why have they not been shouting from the rooftops supporting the community’s bid?
This could have made all the difference to the administrators and HLF’s decision.
Making the right decision about ownership of the pier is not just locally important it is nationally significant.
Piers are iconic but costly structures that have a huge influence on the image and well being of coastal towns.
Their care should not be left to the whims of private individuals particularly when their restoration has been orchestrated by the community and funded by public money.
HLF and the administrators need to realise that they are setting a standard for how to manage the situation when a community owned asset goes into liquidation.
It should not be a done deal behind closed doors with no consultation with the community who fought so hard to save the pier. We need a different model of operation and this could have been the chance to build that model.