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The pier substructure must be kept in community hands, say the Friends of Hastings Pier.

The pier substructure must be kept in community hands, say the Friends of Hastings Pier.

Hard going for Friends of Hastings Pier

It’s hard going for the Friends of Hastings Pier as they face a deadline of 12 April to submit their proposal for bringing the pier out of administration, on top of which the council has turned down their application to have the pier designated an asset of community value. But at least the administrators have agreed to meet them. Nick Terdre reports.

The Friends of Hastings Pier (FOHP) are facing an uphill struggle to have a say in the fate of the pier, but can at least look forward to meeting with the administrators. A spokesman for the administrators’ firm, Smith & Williamson, told HOT last week that they had been in touch with the Friends and offered to meet with them, though they would not be able to attend the meeting of stakeholders arranged by the Friends for 23 April.

The news was confirmed by Jess Steele, who said Smith & Williamson had responded to a letter from the Friends which their agent, GVA Grimley, had forwarded to them. Another member of the Friends, Lesley Davis, told HOT the administrators had been willing to meet over the Easter weekend but this proved impossible due to prior commitments on the Friends’ part.

The pier's exhibition of automata runs until 15 April. It was crowded on Easter Day, less well attended on the rainy Monday morning, according to staff.

The pier’s exhibition of automata runs until 15 April. It was crowded on Easter Day, less well attended on the rainy Monday morning, according to staff.

Late arrivals

FOHP are establishing their presence as a bidder for the pier rather later than other interested parties. In an update sent to community shareholders last week, the administrators say, “There has been significant interest from a number of parties who want the Pier to continue as a going concern. We have been in dialogue with several of these parties on a regular basis.”

Meanwhile the Friends have been informed by GVA Grimley that proposals from parties interested in acquiring the pier must be submitted by 12 April. Although a group within the Friends has begun developing ideas on how the pier’s commercial future can be secured while still keeping it in community hands, the pressure is now on to turn this work into a business plan, complete with funding options, by the deadline.

The Friends’ plan will be based on two key tenets: retaining the freehold of the support structure under the ownership of Hastings Pier Charity and leasing the topsides to a commercial operator, which would pay HPC a rent sufficient to cover insurance and maintenance costs.

Promoting holiday homes on the pier.

Promoting holiday homes on the pier.

ACV application rejected

Meanwhile the Friends’ application to have the pier nominated as an asset of community value (ACV) has been rejected by the council. The Friends have written back contesting the council’s interpretation of the relevant regulations and requesting that the decision be reconsidered.

“At nomination stage, the Council’s obligation is to consider the ACV application under the criteria of whether Hastings Pier furthers the social well-being of Hastings community,” the letter points out.

FOHP are keen to bring on board community shareholders who have not so far been contacted. The administrators, who hold a list of shareholders, have declined a request to send out an email to them on the Friends’ behalf on the grounds that they cannot be seen to be favouring any party.

Instead the Friends will place adverts in the Hastings Observer and send out a press release to local radio and TV to publicise the meeting with stakeholders. This will take place in White Rock Theatre at 7.30pm on Monday 23 April.

For more information on the Friends of Hastings Pier, see the Facebook page. To join, write to friendsofhastingspier@gmail.com.

Posted 10:39 Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018 In: Grassroots

3 Comments


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  1. Jim Breeds

    Chandra, the reason given was that the pier charity was already in administration by the time of our application to renew the ACV. We (FOHP) are appealing that on the basis that the ACV was still current on the date that administration commenced and that the status of the owner does not stop the pier being a community asset for all time.

    Comment by Jim Breeds — Thursday, Apr 5, 2018 @ 12:25

  2. Ms.Doubtfire

    Very good questions Chandra – the apparent arrogance of the Administrator’s office and the absence of a ‘reason’ for the council rejecting the Friends of Hastings Pier’s application to nominate the pier as an Asset of Community Value is of serious concern to all of us who value OUR pier as a very important community asset.
    Another case of the attitude of authority simply casting aside the people of Hastings when they have questions which concern their town.
    This approach has to cease.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Apr 5, 2018 @ 08:43

  3. Chandra Masoliver

    What reason did the council give for rejecting the Friends Of Hastings Pier’s application to have the pier nominated as an asset of community value? How else could it be described?

    And what reason did the administration, who hold a list of shareholders, give to decline to send an email to the shareholders of the FOHP?

    Comment by Chandra Masoliver — Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018 @ 23:43

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