Is Hastings Pier about to be saved?


File photo dated 19/02/14 of building materials at Hastings Pier in East Sussex, as more than �470,000 in shares in the fire-ravaged seaside pier have been sold so far to help fund its long-awaited restoration. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 3, 2014. Organisers behind the revival of Hastings Pier in East Sussex hope to hit their �500,000 target before the share-buying deadline ends on Saturday. See PA story HERITAGE Pier. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Organisers behind the revival of a fire-ravaged seaside pier are close to hitting their £500,000 target.

More than £470,000 in shares in Hastings Pier in East Sussex have been so sold so far to help fund its long-awaited restoration.

The share-buying deadline ends on Sunday.

In January, work started in earnest to restore the Grade II-listed Victorian pier in an ambitious project costing more than £13 million.

That money is being used to fund the engineering, steelwork and major renovation needed to bring the structure back to life.

But the share scheme was offered to pay for attractions needed to make it financially viable, with more than 1,900 mainly local shareholders investing so far.

Hastings Pier Charity chief executive Simon Opie said: "The £500,000 isn't a ceiling, more a target and we'd be delighted to push past that if we can."

Plans for the pier include funfairs, a circus, an open-air cinema and theatre, farmers' markets and a mirrored heritage centre to reflect the seaside views.

The heritage centre will house memories from residents, and will feature recorded recollections, pictures and memorabilia of the old pier.

There are also "tentative" plans for a microbrewery on the pier, and a bar and restaurant under the guidance of eco-restaurateur Jamie Grainger-Smith.

Most of the existing pier structure is being recycled or reused, with wood from the old decking being turned into benches, chairs and tables for the new pier.

The pier has stood as a derelict eyesore since it was almost destroyed in a fire in October 2010 following years of neglect.

Two men, then aged 18 and 19, were arrested shortly afterwards but the Crown Prosecution Service later said there was not enough evidence to bring charges.

Nothing was done by its then Panama-registered owner Ravenclaw to restore the structure, which first opened back in 1872.

The lack of effort led Hastings Borough Council to seek a compulsory purchase order so control of the pier could be handed to a specially set up trust.

It is hoped the pier will be finished by early summer 2015.

Name that seaside pier!

Name that seaside pier!

Related stories

Why was Brighton voted worst UK seaside holiday resort?

A celebration in pictures: The English seaside

Tourist falls off pier while checking Facebook on mobile phone

Dog owner hurls collie off pier to 'teach it to swim'