Hastings Pier’s ‘family entertainment centre’ will be open within the next two weeks.
Brett McLean, one of the spokesmen for pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar, confirmed to Hastings In Focus that the centre, approved by Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee at the beginning of the month, will open within that timescale, occupying the building in the centre of the pier that used to house the visitor centre and shop.
As far as plans for the construction of additional log cabins, approved by HBC’s planners in April, Mr McLean said: “We’ve almost completed negotiations, once we’ve signed the contract it’ll be around four to eight weeks.”
That means it could be the end of June or even in to July before the cabins are on the pier. The cabins were requested as a way to increase retail space and therefore generate much needed income.
What has been described as the family entertainment centre is expected to be a traditional amusement arcade including slot machines and arcade games. It has been controversial with Alex de Rijke, the man who came up with the vision for the rebuilt pier saying it was like teaching children to ‘gamble in the dark’.
However, writing on social media this week Rosie Costar-Lewsey said: “A pier should have something for everyone From one to 101. I hope this is just the start of that and it generates money for future attractions. At the moment there is absolutely nothing for myself, children or grandchildren apart for a windy boring walk on expensive decking.”
Michael Neve told critics: “People please! While open space is lovely and posh, tt doesn’t make money! Money needed to maintain the pier’s structural integrity. If you want open space there’s a whole ocean of it out there or the country park.”
However Amanda Jobson was not so happy about the ‘entertainment centre’: “Gambling gives a terrible message to everyone in our community! Sad times.”