The future of Bognor’s amusements soul has plunged into uncertainty after the attraction’s owners withdrew support for the Bognor Pier Trust’s Lottery funding campaign.
Bognor Pier Trust has been forced to pull out of making a major bid for Lottery money after the pier’s owners withdrew their support.
The news comes as a huge blow for the trust and the Friends of the Pier, who have been working on a bid for up to £5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure the Grade II listed landmark’s long-term future since 2013. Following a meeting with representatives of Bognor Pier Leisure Ltd (BPLL) on 19 October, the pier trust were informed by joint owner John Ayers that BPLL are not able to support the trust in its bid for lottery funding.
Bognor Pier Trust chairman Paul Wells said: “The trust are clearly disappointed with the news that we will not be able to proceed with the lottery bid, extensive work has been undertaken to get us to this point but we have to respect the owner’s decision not to proceed with the project. Support from the pier owner is a key requirement for submitting a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
Bognor Pier Trust was formed in September 2013 to investigate the possibilities of securing funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and has been extremely successful in obtaining external funding to carry out the necessary work to formulate a bid. During this process the trust worked closely with the BPLL, but in a statement joint pier owner Ayres did not go into detail about his exact reasons for no longer supporting the Lottery bid.
Ayers said: “Bognor Pier Leisure have worked with the trust and we are extremely grateful for the extensive and professional approach the trust has taken in preparation towards submitting a bid. At this time and following the results of the work that needed to be carried out we are unable to proceed as a company with the support for the bid.”
Despite the disappointment, the Trust said it was pleased that Ayers has put in place a programme of work to continue repairs to the substructure, with all the decking to be replaced and further improvements to be made to the arcade.