A meeting that hopes to set out a plan for a stable and secure future for Hastings Pier is being held next month.
Friends of Hastings Pier (FOHP) is taking over the White Rock Theatre from 7.30pm on April 23 and is hoping that before then it can reach as many of the pier’s shareholders as possible. Organisers are also inviting the administrators, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funders, as well as local politicians to attend the meeting.
Lesley Davis, one of the organisers has issued a wider invitation to the people of Hastings and says: “Please come to show your support, how proud you are of our community and how much you want to keep the pier as a community owned asset.”
On the night Friends of Hastings Pier hope to elect a number of shareholder spokespeople and a wider group of local people to help take any proposals forward.
Ms Davis says: “We want to look forwards not backwards.”
The main aims for the evening include ensuring that community shareholders have a voice now and in the future; to return to the original strategy for the pier which was ‘stable ownership – stable platform – commercial operation’. Friends of Hastings Pier also wants to protect the freehold of the pier in community ownership and work with private operators to develop an ‘investment-ready plan rooted in commercial realities’. FOHP says it expects that plan would include an early period of losses and would hope to secure grant and social investment funding to cover those.
In an email invitation Ms Davis says: “Together, we are the voices of Hastings and St Leonards community whose daily lives are enriched by the presence of the pier. We are the ones who work, volunteer, enjoy and love our pier. We are the ones whose voices helped raise it from the ashes of the last pier and made it into the award-winning pier it is today.
“The pier is at the heart of our community, it was rescued by the community, and now it needs our support to help keep it for the community.”
The meeting will start at 7.30pm in the White Rock Theatre. Members of FOHP can gather at 6.30pm at the Pier for tea or coffee in the visitor centre. Ms Davis says members will get the chance to see, ‘how far forward we are in our campaign’ and also to chat with active FOHP members.
Anyone interested in attending should email firstname.lastname@example.org