Like the best boxing match the battle for control of Hastings Pier looks set to go all the way to the final bell with neither side giving an inch and the decision going to the judges.
Writing on social media this morning Jess Steele, the woman who reconstituted the Friends of Hastings Pier group in February told followers: “Just to be clear about the current position as far as I’m aware of it. FoHP submitted a revised proposal to the Administrators at midday yesterday.
“This includes legal heads of terms for a shared venture between FoHP Trust which would own the freehold and a private commercial operator who would operate the pier in close liaison with FoHP.
“It fits well with our original aspirations to work in partnership to keep the pier freehold in community ownership and bring a commercial approach to its operation.
“Both parties would contribute financially and we are ready to take over the pier straight away. dRMM (the architects who designed Hastings Pier) have already begun to draw up designs for an exciting temporary structure that would go up this season.
“We wait to hear from the administrators. By law it is their decision to make and they must make it in the best interests of the creditors. The biggest creditor by far is Heritage Lottery Fund whose concern must be to protect the community benefit that comes from their investment of lottery players’ money.
“I’ve spent the last five months focused on ‘making hope possible rather than despair convincing’. As Raymond Williams said, that’s the way to be truly radical. Stay hopeful! And let’s keep that crowdfunder going up.”
Sources close to Sheikh Abid Gulzar, owner of Eastbourne Pier who is the other bidder suggested they also had a deal ready for signature. One way or the other a final decision on who will be the new owner of Hastings Pier is expected before the end of the day.
FoHP’s crowdfunder has grown significantly in the last few days and now needs just £37,000 to reach the £500,000 target that once looked out of reach.