Nearly 500 people packed into a public meeting on Monday 23rd April at the White Rock Theatre to show their support for FOHP’s £3 million business plan, drawn up with support from a team of highly experienced business people and specialised professionals. These include the pier’s Stirling Prize winning architect Alex de Rijke, his team at dRMM,  and Adam Wide, new Hastings resident and former creative director behind the revitalisation of both Cromer and Bournemouth piers. Emma Harwood reports

PICTURE: dRMM

The central idea is for the pier structure to stay in community ownership. Income from leasing out the top to a commercial operator at £175,000 a year would cover most of the £240,000 maintenance, repair and insurance costs. Fundraising would make up the £65,000 gap.

At the meeting, Adam Wide outlined ideas for an intensive events programme making use of the pier and attracting visitors throughout the day and evening, all year round. Crucial to this would be the construction of a 400-500 capacity two-storey structure at the land end of the pier (see dRMM’s impression) at a cost of £1 million for multiple uses as food court, bar, nightclub, and live music venue on a raised level, with a partly glass-bottomed ground level holding 21st century fairground stalls, a mirror maze, and indoor market. One end of the visitor centre could be turned into a fine dining restaurant, keeping the other end for children’s events and activities. The seaward end would be kept open but with added furniture such as seated booths and chair swings.  Other ideas are for a Neptune’s Lair, under the apron of the pier, where children could climb and explore, and a modern take on a carousel, designed by a contemporary artist, made out of driftwood.

“We have renovated the pier to a beautiful standard, we have this fantastic asset, what we haven’t yet done is revitalise it.” said Jess Steele of FOHP. “ It was wonderful to see nearly 500 people come to the meeting and contribute both their ideas and their money towards the cause. I’m really hopeful it will work”.

In our last issue we printed designs of the Waitomo Visitor Centre in New Zealand, which architects dRMM used as references when considering designs for the new pier building. These should have been attributed to Architecture Workshop and not, as we stated, dRMM. The sketch here is dRMM’s own impression of how the pier could look if FOHP’s bid is successful.

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