Last chance for owner to repair fire-hit pier

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The owner of a fire-ravaged pier has been given a last chance by council chiefs to start repair work or risk it being taken out of their control.

Grade II-listed Hastings Pier in East Sussex, which was opened in 1872 and was originally 910ft long, has remained a burnt-out eyesore since it was almost completely destroyed in an arson attack in October last year.

Nothing has been done by its absent Panama-registered owner Ravenclaw Investments to restore the structure, which was once proclaimed “the peerless pier”.

The local authority, Hastings Council, has been engaged in a long-running battle to force the offshore owner to kick-start repair work. This week a repairs notice was tied to the pier’s gates and the council sent Ravenclaw notices calling on it to begin repairs within two months or face a compulsory purchase order.

If granted, it would then be handed over to the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust, which aims to refurbish the pier with modern attractions using money secured through grants.

Yesterday, Hastings’ regeneration councillor Peter Chowney said: “They (the owners) have made no effort whatsoever to repair the pier and now they risk forfeiting it altogether.

“This is their last chance.”

No-one from Ravenclaw could be reached for comment.

Councillors agreed to seek a compulsory purchase order while the trust secured funding of £357,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to get a business plan in place.