The owner of Brighton Palace Pier has revealed that his company is interested in adding the troubled Hastings Pier to its portfolio.
Luke Johnson, chairman of private equity house Risk Capital Partners LLP and The Brighton Pier Group PLC, said he had already begun the process of exploring a bid for the award-winning south coast attraction.
The charity that operates Hastings Pier entered into administration last month after failing to secure the £800,000 required to fund it through to 2021.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last week, Johnson said: “I have spoken to the administrator, and it’s possible that we will be interested.
“I think it needs some serious investment if it’s ever to be self-funding.”
Speaking shortly after Hastings Pier charity declared itself insolvent, administrator Smith & Williamson LLP revealed it had already spoken with one party it described as “seriously interested” in the pier, although it is not known if this was Johnson or a representative of Risk Capital Partners.
Although it was awarded the presti- gious Stirling Prize for architecture at the end of October, many had wondered how sustainable the pier was without the presence of any fixed attractions other than a restaurant and café.
Johnson purchased Brighton Palace Pier in April 2016 for £18m; in September this year he announced a £1.3 million upgrade to its bars and restaurants after the Brighton Pier Group’s profits rose 39 per cent to £31.3m.
He told the Today programme: “We are rebuilding the restaurants, so it’s going to be Brighton’s best fish and chip restau- rant, we’ve rebuilt the pub, we are going to add new rides, we’ve got new slot machines, so we’re keeping it traditional but we are gradually reinventing it.”