Press release

Pickles congratulates group bringing Hastings Pier back to life

Work to begin to repair Hastings Pier following a successful community campaign.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Artist's impression of new pier

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles welcomed the first step towards the reopening of Hastings Pier today, after it was saved from disrepair and abandonment by a local community group.

At a ceremonial opening, marking the start of repair works to the pier which will reopen to the public in 2015, Mr Pickles praised the Hastings Pier Charity behind the campaign to save it.

This is a complete turnaround in Hastings Pier’s fortunes and will secure its future for local people, businesses and tourists to enjoy.

It’s yet another great example of what is happening across the country when government gives power back to communities to decide how best to run things locally.

Built in 1872 the Grade II listed pier designed by Eugenius Birch - who also created Brighton’s West Pier - started to fall into disrepair in the 1960s before finally closing in 2008. It was further damaged in an arson attack in 2010.

The local ‘save our pier’ campaign began shortly after the pier’s closure and the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust - now charity - formed in 2008 and has received money from government and the National Lottery Heritage fund. The Hastings Pier Charity takes full ownership of the pier from the council today.

Simon Opie, Chief Executive Officer of the Hastings Pier Charity said:

We want a new pier as well as to restore the old, using sustainable materials wherever we can. We’ll provide open space not just for promenading but for family and community celebrations; a real attraction for tourists and a valuable asset for locals and the town. 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 people’s pier.

See full details of the government’s ‘community rights’ programme - from giving people the power to list local assets to protect them from sell offs, to allowing them to take over local services.

Hastings and the pier charity have together benefited from £14 million government, lottery and council support:

  • £1.7 million from the Department for the Communities and Local Government
    • £1.2 million from the coastal communities fund in February, of which £750,000 went to the pier trust
    • £500,000 for the pier trust to support their take over bid
  • £11.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund
  • £1 million from Hastings and East Sussex councils

The bulk of this funding will now be spent on restoration. The pier charity has pledged to favour local people and businesses both in rebuilding and running the pier. Initial work will be to renovate the pier’s pavilion and the construction of a new visitor centre, which will also serve as an archive and display area for the pier’s local heritage. When finished the pier will also include a restaurant and an education and arts centre.

Read more details on the Hastings Pier Charity’s website.

Local MP Amber Rudd, Eric Pickles, Simon Opie Chief Executive of Hastings Pier Charity, and others.
Local MP Amber Rudd, Eric Pickles, Simon Opie Chief Executive of Hastings Pier Charity, and others at the opening of work on Hastings Pier.
Local MP Amber Rudd, Eric Pickles, Simon Opie Chief Executive of Hastings Pier Charity, and others at opening of work on Hastings Pier.

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Published 15 August 2013