It’s just a week until Friends of Hastings Pier (FOHP) will stage its big pubic meeting in the White Rock Theatre as it attempts to gather public support for it’s plans to save ‘the people’s pier”.
In an attempt to prove the viability of its plans FOHP Friends has recruited an eminent list supporters including:
• Adam Wide, founder of Open Wide International, with 40 years experience in leisure and tourism
• Prof Alex de Rijke and the team at dRMM (architects of the pier)
• Craig Cohon, previously of Cirque du Soleil Russia
• Mark Perrin, senior rigging specialist
The letter says: “Given the critical importance of local people in the saving on the pier, the fact that community shareholders were neither informed nor asked to help prior to the administration and the commitment of the Heritage Lottery Fund as charge-holder to protecting the interests of lottery players and local communities, we hope you will give us this chance to prove that together we can protect the long-term future of the ‘People’s Pier’.
The letter concludes; “We recognise that there have been mistakes in the past. We all play a role both in the success and in the stumbling, even if that’s just that we weren’t always there when the pier needed us. Now and in the coming years, when it really matters, we want to be there for it and for our community.
“It has been amazing and heart-warming to see how many and diverse people and organisations have stepped forward to help put this plan together. We are immensely grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund both for the initial investment and for keeping the pier open during Administration. Let’s work together to save it again.”
The letter was sent in support of the full business plan which FOHP sere required to submit to administrators by last Thursday. It is understood there have been a number of bids for the pier but details of who the bidders are and the details of their plans to make a commercial success of the pier have not been revealed. Administrators say they hope to make an announcement – possibly even revealing a new owner for the pier within weeks.
FOHP hopes that its public meeting at 7.30 next Monday will demonstrate to administrators the level of public support that exists for the pier to remain in community control and organisers are urging people who cannot attend the actual meeting to email their support to FriendsOfHastingsPier@gmail.com.
The fundamental objective of FOHP is to effectively separate the pier in to two separate businesses. One business – community owned and run – would be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the pier structure. It would derive the £250,000 per year income that it requires to complete that work by letting or leasing the top of the pier to a commercial operator. If no suitable commercial operator can be found then FOHP is prepared to go it alone and create a business to take over the running of the attractions on the top of the pier too.
Full details of the business plan will be revealed at the meeting on Monday night, members of FOHP were working right up until last Thursday’s deadline to fine tune its bid.
Those involved in authoring the bid say they have done so because there was no one else to do that work. They would have preferred to have been able to hold the public meeting before submitting the bid documents but last Thursday’s deadline was announced by the administrators after plans had been put in place to hold a meeting next Monday