(as you can tell) I just sent this out by email to a load of people, and now I’m going to infiltrate the Community Organisers blog (just to prove I’m not only a Programme Manager…). If you support local people anywhere taking control of their own big issues, then pass this link on and tweet for #thepeoplespier.

* * * * *

To friends in and not in Hastings, the Hastings Diaspora and Seasiders everywhere (PASS IT ON)

We’re heading for MAKE OR BREAK. The Heritage Lottery Fund are visiting #Hastingspier next week and we have just FIVE WEEKS before they make their big decision. Will they SAVE HASTINGS PIER or will they LEAVE IT TO ROT?

This Saturday at the PARTY ON THE PROM we launch a campaign – SAY YES TO THE PEOPLE’S PIER. Now is the time or it will be too late. The crucial decision is coming up on 19th April 2011 when the trustees of the Heritage Lottery Fund meet to decide whether to save the British seaside.

Hastings Pier has always been one of the best and a great survivor. Now it is the pioneer for a 21st century rescue and reinvention of seaside heritage, led by local people and destined for local ownership forever.

But the opportunity is hanging in the balance. If HLF say no in April the pier will not survive. There are no other options for the structural restoration. Without firm foundations and stable ownership the jobs, training and private investment in tourism and leisure that would be unleashed by the working pier will never come. Despite all efforts, Hastings faces a grim future which will be endlessly symbolised by a decaying pier.

When Ravenclaw abandoned the pier they left us with a Catch 22 – we couldn’t raise the money if we didn’t own it and we couldn’t own it unless we had the money to restore it. The Trust has worked tirelessly to break this deadlock and twin-track progress on ownership and funding. We are so close – the compulsory purchase is underway; the overall strategy is clear; the architects are in place and working with local people, groups and businesses. The new governance will see true community ownership, with the Hastings Pier Charity creating a stable platform and the People’s Pier Company bringing dynamic management above-deck.

Given the fierce competition for HLF it’s not good enough just to be good. We have to make it unthinkable for them to say no because the alternative is so stark.

So come, this Saturday, to the Party on the Prom and add your voice. At 12 noon we’ll kick off the first of our “15 minutes to save the Pier” – the idea is to make a helluva noise so bring vuvuzelas, whistles, drums, spoons, whatever you like, and let’s make ourselves heard.

You’ll also be able to meet our architects – dRMM – chosen through a proper competitive process overseen by RIBA and attracting submissions from more than 50 firms (more info below).

Alternatively or additionally, there will be other opportunities. We need big help with the campaign – this is the moment to ‘leverage our networks’. It’s also the moment where I’m contending with a few other bits of work (sic), so anything you can do to help spread the word would be exceedingly welcome!

The basic idea is to co-ordinate some kind of 15 minute activity each week from this Saturday until 19th April.  One of these ‘activities’ could be a mass-tweet session (in addition to general tweeting throughout). Use @thepeoplespier username and hashtags #thepeoplespier and #justsayyes. Another 15-minute activity could be a ‘picture the pier’ event, encouraging loads of people to draw/photograph or otherwise visualise Hastings Pier (or any pier) all uploaded on our website (www.hpwrt.co.uk) – mass recording of something precious. We could arrange for the graffiti board to go up on the pier gates as a focus for it, but also have people doing it all over the country, in schools, etc.

Yours, in hope that horizontalism is alive and well, and not swaying or buckling in the storms.



PS I know some of you will wonder why you’ve received this – it’s gone to everyone that has links to the town, links to the seaside or just generally excellent links and a good heart.

Jess Steele
Treasurer, Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust


Registered office: The White Rock Hotel, 1-10 White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JU. Registered Company No: 6488693



On Saturday 12 March, 10AM – 4PM, celebrations will be held on piers throughout the country to kick off British Tourism Week 2011, and draw attention to historic piers at risk.  The Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust has organised ‘Party on the Prom’ as part of this event in support of Hastings Pier, featuring stalls, live music, and events.

Party on the Prom will also kick off the community consultation process for the Pier’s future. deRijke Marsh Morgan architects (dRMM), recently appointed to work with the Trust, will have a stall on the promenade.  The consultations are aimed at drawing on the local community to understand concerns and aspirations of the project.

The focus of our consultation stall is threefold:

Remembering the PAST. We are keen to record your memories of the Pier- both good and bad.  We want to better understand why it held such a special place in the collective memory.  What worked?  What didn’t? What did the Pier mean to you, what special events does its history hold for you?  This is an opportunity to reminisce and reflect.

Communicating the PRESENT.  The Pier is a Grade II Listed Building at risk.  Immediate structural work is required to prevent further damage.  There is also remaining debris from the fire that needs clearance.  The architects are working to secure the necessary Planning consents for this essential work.  We are also assisting the Trust to obtain ownership of the pier through Compulsory Purchase, and to secure funding for the Pier’s repair and redevelopment.  dRMM will be on hand to answer questions and explain what work will be happening to safeguard the structure.

Contributing to the FUTURE.  The Pier before the fire struggled to be commercially viable.  While some businesses managed, others failed to attract custom.  This is an opportunity to re-think what the Pier means to Hastings & St. Leonards.  What activities should take place on the new Pier?  What is important for the local community?  How important is attracting visitors?  The Pier must support a range of activities that are financially sustainable, to ensure its success.

Your views are needed. we look forward to seeing you on the 12 March.

Extra information
Following the fire of 5 Oct the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust (HPWRT) went through with a plan to find an architectural practice to help the Trust realise a sustainable vision for redeveloping the Pier. The competition was run through the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and attracted over 50 submissions. The shortlist included both national and international practices. The final interview panel included representation across the local community. Practices were evaluated based on their approach, design and consultation track record. They were not asked to take part in a design competition. This was because the Trust is keen to involve the views of Hastings people from the start of the design process. dRMM architects were selected as the winning practice in January 2011. This consultation will be the first of several.



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  1. ray chapman says:

    We need the lottery to say yes THIS YEAR otherwise the costs to redevelop the pier will increase due to the extension in the councils compulsory buy out process, this town cannot afford another year due to the constraints on our economy, by lottery saying yes this year will help the national economy not only saving council costs but with nearer term job creation to assist with recovery so Hastings is not a burdon on government finances,

    Also doing nothing means over 40 years of decay as the structure falls into the sea like West Pier Brighton scaring Hastings and reversing the good work achieved recently such as the jerwood initiative until at least 2051

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