Campaigners eke out more time in bid to keep Hastings Pier in community hands

Hastings Pier
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With two private leisure operators just along the Sussex coast eying up the acquisition of Hastings’ architectural seafront jewel, the community group Friends of Hastings Pier have been given a glimmer of hope, time, to raise enough funds to be viewed as a serious bidder.

The campaigners hoping to keep Hastings Pier in public ownership have been granted more time to raise the money they need.

Friends of Hastings Pier, established after the Hastings Pier Charity went into administration in November last year, have set up a crowdfunding website in order to secure half of the £1m required to sustain it for a further two years.

They hope to convince the pier’s administrators that they will have the means to keep the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning attraction financially viable.

On the website, they stated: “Raising half a million pounds now from individuals and organisations will keep us ‘in the game’ and encourage other funders to invest alongside you to make our pier a success.

“Our business plan is solid, we have a great team of talented people with knowledge and experience of running piers and entertainment venues, and we have the original designer of the pier and RIBA award-winning architect, dRMM, donating their time for free.

“We know we can make the pier profitable, we just need the chance to prove it.”

The news will be of concern, albeit not too great,to the owners of Brighton and Eastbourne Piers, both of whom have expressed an interest in adding Hastings to their portfolio.

At the end of April, representatives of Friends of Hastings Pier met with its administrators to ask for a 30 day extension to get the required funding in place.

Although no specific time limit was agreed, the group reported that although the administrators were still keen to move ahead with a sale, they said this was unlikely to happen in the short-term.

In response,Friends of Hastings Pier has launched a campaign on online platform Crowdfunder to raise the first £500,000 of its £1 million target.

It hopes to raise the remaining £500,000 by match funding from grants and other charitable donations.

If successful, the funds will be used to support a bid to commercial property agent GVA, which is acting on behalf of the administrators to sell the pier.

As Coinslot went to press, the group was still some way short of reaching £50,000 in donations, with just three weeks remaining to raise over £450,000.

n February, Eastbourne Pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar declared he was “100 per cent interested” in a bid for Hastings Pier,stating he would do more generate revenue from it.

This follows an interview BBC Radio 4’s Today programme conducted with Brighton Pier Group chairman Luke Johnson in December last year, in which Johnson also intimated he would be open to adding a second such leisure attraction to the company’s portfolio.

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