There’s no doubt that one of the biggest stories in town this year has been the battle for ownership of Hastings Pier.
In November 2017, in the same week that the pier was awarded the nation’s top architecture award, the RIBA Stirling prize, it was also announced that the Hastings Pier Charity, which ran the attraction, had gone in to administration – the pier was for sale – but who would buy it? Would anyone, given the scale of its reported losses?
It was the new year before things really started hotting up. In February there was a meeting to revitalise the Friends of Hastings Pier (FOHP) group. They wanted to ensure the pier remained in community ownership and over four months put together a business plan, recruited experts to their cause and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in a relatively short period of time.
Ultimately their bid was unsuccessful as administrators Smith and Williamson opted instead to sell the pier to Sheikh Abid Gulzar who was already the owner of Eastbourne pier. That decision did not go down well with FOHP and its supporters but we’ll cover the aftermath of the sale another time.
In the stories we have selected below we chart the rise of FOHP and outline the vision it had to, as one of its members Adam Wide put it, to create a pier for the 21st century.