Pier architects put their money where their mouth is!

The architectural practice behind the Stirling Prize-winning rebuild of Hastings Pier has pledged money to the crowdfunding campaign that it hopes will take the attraction into community ownership.

In November, the charity that owned the pier went into administration, less than a month after dRMM scooped the prestigious architecture award for its regeneration of the pier.

The practice has pledged its design and planning application fee for future work on the pier towards the crowdfunding campaign, which aims to raise an initial £500,000 towards buying and running the venue.

Hastings Pier – it’s future ownership remains unclear.

A statement on the crowdfunding page said: ‘Friends of Hastings Pier (FoHP) have created a business plan that will keep the freehold of the pier community-owned while transforming it into a profitable and sustainable business.

‘The bid has a real chance of winning, if we can show that we have community support and financial backing.’

The campaign needs to raise £1 million to convince administrators that it has the ability to sustain the pier for two years.

It said: ‘Raising half a million pounds now from individuals and organisations will keep us ‘in the game’ and encourage other funders to invest alongside you to make our pier a success.’

Phase 1 of dRMM’s design, which opened in April 2016, has three main elements: an entirely new West African ekki hardwood deck, a restored Victorian Western Pavilion with two new ‘pods’, and a visitor centre, with benches made from recovered decking.

The as-yet-unbuilt second phase includes the addition of a large rooftop canopy to the visitor centre’s belvedere deck, and a mixed-use pavilion situated opposite the Victorian pavilion.

The new building would be built from EFTE and timber, and could serve as a café and nightclub.

Meanwhile FoHP has a new deadline day in its diary with crunch talks due to take place between representatives of FoHP and the administrators next Friday. So far the crowdfunding campaign has failed to catch the public’s imagination with only £38,627 of the £500,000 target having been donated. A further £100,000 has been pledged but that is still well short of the £1.2m the administrators say FoHP must show they can access to keep the pier running at its current level of losses for two years.

But that is just part of the story as it is estimated that a further £3m would need to be spent to create the buildings and infrastructure on the pier that would allow it to generate the income it needs to become truly self sustaining.

FoHP was dealt a blow this week when plans to run a campaigning booth on the pier itself were rejected by the administrators currently responsible for running the pier. It was felt that allowing FoHP to promote their campaign would have been unfair to the other bidders in the running to take over the Victorian structure.

One of the people attending next week’s crunch meeting will be Adam Wide, the man responsible for putting together the creative vision that would steer Hastings Pier towards viability. Mr Wide has been responsible for turning round the fortunes of Bournemouth the Cromer piers.

To read the details of what Mr Wide is suggesting for Hastings click the link below

Hastings PIer – The Vision

Mr Wide expects that at next week’s meeting he and Jess Steele will face difficult and ‘uncomfortable’ questions about the ability of FoHP to fund and run the pier.

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