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Sun June 13 2021

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Change in ownership opens way for Hastings Pier rebuild

16 Aug 13 A compulsory purchase order (CPO) has returned Hastings Pier to local ownership, enabling the start of a £14m renovation project.

The pier is derelict after years of neglect and a catastrophic fire but work can now start this month with completion scheduled for spring 2015.

Initial works will include renovating the pier’s Grade II listed substructure, refurbishing the only Pavilion still standing on the pier and building a new visitor centre, which will also serve as an archive and display area for the pier’s rich local heritage.

The CPO was put in place by Hastings Borough Council in support of the local ‘Save Our Pier’ campaign begun in 2008. Some £14m has been raised for the project, the lion’s share from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and significant amounts from the Coastal Communities Fund, the Community Assets Fund, Hastings Borough Council and the East Sussex Invest fund from East Sussex CC.

From its opening in 1872 through to its closure in 2008, Hastings Pier was the focus of tourism, events and entertainment for Hastings and much of the South of England.

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“We want to offer a 21st. century take on the traditional English pier and for it to be used often by locals and visitors alike, a Peoples’ Pier,” Simon Opie, CEO of the Hastings Pier Charity, which will oversee the build.

The heritage work includes a sound library of residents’ memories of the pier and will house and maintain a permanent record of the pier’s history.

Councillor Peter Chowney, Hastings Borough Council lead member for regeneration said: “Three years ago, Hastings Borough Council and the Pier Trust embarked on an ambitious project to restore the derelict and abandoned Hasting Pier. At that time, few believed we’d be successful. But, thanks to a close partnership between the trust and council to raise funding while pursuing a compulsory purchase order against Ravenclaw, its Panamanian-based owner, we persevered. A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £11.4m was successful, and match funding was raised. Now finally, with the transfer of ownership from Ravenclaw to the Pier charity the partnership has realised its goal; the pier is in local ownership and the money is in place to restore it.”

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