According to its Facebook page this morning the owner of Hastings Pier is ‘feeling blessed’ as the Facebook post announces that the pier will be open by Easter – apparently contradicting an announcement made earlier saying the pier would remain closed over the Easter weekend.
The announcement comes after both MP Amber Rudd and leader of Hastings Borough Council Peter Chowney weighed in to the debate over what was happening over the reopening of what Ms Rudd described as the town’s ‘impressive landmark’.
It also follows a lengthy and rambling post on the pier’s facebook page last night that was quickly deleted after it received numerous less than complimentary comments.
Following Ms Rudd’s intervention yesterday Mr Chowney expressed his frustration this morning at seeing, ‘this fantastic attraction standing empty’.
Shortly after Mr Chowney’s statement was sent out to the local press the pos appeared on Hastings Pier facebook page saying the pier WOULD be open by Easter and that a firm date would be announced shortly.
Mr Chowney said: “We were disappointed when the pier closed suddenly before Christmas… we had a fantastic half term in February, with the temperatures some of the highest ever recorded in winter. The town and our seafront was packed, with several traders saying they’d bettered their summer trading figures on some days. Yet the pier remained closed.
“We understand that the storms of the past fortnight may have had an impact on the pier, but we would have expected that any issues could have been addressed quickly with an appropriate maintenance regime.
“Easter is likely to be very busy too, especially as it is later this year; normally residents and visitors would flock to the pier then, the traditional start of ‘the season’.
“It is frustrating to see this fantastic attraction standing empty. We remain very keen to work with the pier management, but urge them to reconsider their position and reopen the pier as soon as possible, and certainly before the start of the Easter holiday.”
Ms Rudd said yesterday that it was unacceptable for the pier to remain closed indefinitely and she called for communication from the owner to the community to be improved.
She said she also wanted to see the pier’s owner – Sheikh Abid Gulzar – back up his assurance about the future of the pier with actions.
Ms Rudd was responding to a letter she had received from a local resident raising concerns that the original reopening date set for the pier of the end of March was going to be missed. It was announced earlier this week that the pier will now not be open for Easter.
According to a statement issued by the Mr Gulzar earlier this week the structure will remain shut while work goes on to site the five ‘log cabins’ given planning approval by Hastings Borough Council at the beginning of March and to repair further structural damage that was caused by recent storms.
Ms Rudd says in her letter: “…I am incredibly disappointed that Hastings Pier will not be open for the end of March as originally planned.
“It is unacceptable if the pier remains closed indefinitely and I cannot support any scenario where this is the case.
“Following discussions with the Pier owner, I understand the extended closure comes as a result of fresh structural damage. Further repairs are now, as I understand, being conducted.
“In those discussions I have been assured that the Pier will be open at the start of May for the Pier Jam event. Nonetheless, these assurances must be backed up with actions.
“I urge the owner of Hastings Pier to conduct these repairs as a priority so that the pier may open as soon as possible. Our town cannot keep experiencing delay after delay.
“There must also be much improved communication with the Hastings community from the owner. The Pier belongs to our town and we must always remember that.
“Ultimately what we all want is for residents to be able to enjoy this impressive landmark of our town.”
A bizarre post appeared to the Hastings Pier facebook group last night that was quickly deleted. The post (se above) said that Sheikh Abid Gulzar was, “…touched by all the abuse, harassment and hate propaganda that carries on against him.” It went on to say that Mr Gulzar ‘thanked’ those who had, “given undivided attention to his tax affairs.”