You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone – did our council fail to grasp the significance of pier’s 2017 Stirling Prize?

Announcing this year’s winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize judges described it as a ‘modest masterpiece”.

Screenshot 2019-10-10 17.21.08
Goldsmith Street in Norwich – this year’s winner.

This year’s winner was Goldsmith Street in Norwich also described as ‘an architectural marvel’. Judges say it represents what has become a rare breed: streets of terraced homes built directly by the council, rented with secure tenancies at fixed social rents.

There were similar plaudits for the 2017 winner, it was described as: ‘a masterpiece of regeneration which has evolved the idea of what architecture is and what architects should do.’ 

Judges were talking about Hastings Pier – but the heady days of winning the nation’s top architectural prize now seem a distant and hazy memory.

Does winning the architectural Oscar make a difference? Bernard McGinley takes a look at the built environment, and the role of local institutions and government in sustaining it.

For some decades the Stirling Prize has represented the best of what British architecture has to offer. The winners and runners up enjoy a kudos not otherwise achievable. There may be occasional grumbles about better work elsewhere, but this is the national and international shop window for architectural talent and design.

In Britain and beyond, the ‘Bilbao effect’ was marked in the prestige of Stirling Prize recognition. Frank Gehry’s 1997 Guggenheim Museum had transformed the economy of the Basque town. Renown was reaped, heavily. The Scottish Parliament building by Enric Miralles won it in 2005, and is widely admired as a manifestation of the new Scotland.

Norman Foster’s practice won it in 1998 for an aviation museum at Duxford and again in 2004 for the Gherkin – though Ken Shuttleworth deserved the recognition. Foster and Partners won again in 2018 for the Bloomberg Building in the City of London.

Sir James Stirling died in 1992 but his practice – now Michael Wilford and Associates – won the Prize in 1997 for the Stuttgart Music School;  Richard Rogers won in 2006 for an airport terminal in Madrid; David Chipperfield in 2007 for a museum building in Germany.

The prize is for ‘the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year’ and is now restricted to the UK. It is judged on criteria including:

  • Design vision 
  • Innovation and originality
  • Capacity to stimulate, engage and delight occupants and visitors
  • Accessibility and sustainability
  • How fit the building is for its purpose, and
  • The level of client satisfaction.

Winning the Stirling involves instant wow and usually landmark status: a destination of choice. The distinction is immense – or so you would think.

Screenshot 2019-10-10 16.58.55
The ‘plank’.
Walking the plank

In 2017, something remarkable happened. Against stiff competition the Stirling Prize was awarded to Hastings Pier, for a design by dRMM and Alex de Rijke leading.

It was the first – and possibly the last – time a pier had won. The austerity of the design had a strong appeal: a delicate pavilion in a marine wilderness, a spaciousness like being at sea.

The Pier was celebrated as ‘the Plank’.

The Leader of Hastings Borough Council (HBC), Peter Chowney, said Stirling recognition would attract attention to Hastings for all the right reasons. As for winning he said: “…with the support, faith and vision of so many Hastings people who contributed their time, money and enthusiasm, it’s received this accolade . . . it’s something the whole town can take pride in.”

Amber Rudd offered her congratulations too: “This is a wonderful achievement and testament to the dogged determination from all parts of the town to make sure that we rebuilt our much loved Pier to a really high standard,” she said.

RIBA president and Stirling jury chair Ben Derbyshire described the project as a masterpiece of regeneration and inspiration: “The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and local people.

“This design technique dismantles the existing building, reconfiguring reclaimed materials with new to create innovative forms, uses and experiences. History is recycled into new architecture: New from Old. The construction advantages of this approach are economy, practicality, and the avoidance of waste. The aesthetics of the project visibly embody local memory and pride. The values of the project embody local regeneration with a sustainability that is simultaneously environmental and social,” he said about the award winning pier.

Screenshot 2019-10-10 17.00.21
Reconfiguring reclaimed materials.

The Stirling Prize judges said the project ‘evolved the idea of what architecture is and what architects should do’ and praised dRMM’s realisation of ‘this masterpiece of subtle, effortless design’.

“They have driven this project through to completion: campaigning, galvanising and organising local support throughout each aspect of the funding stage. They went above and beyond what most people think of as the role of the architect – and then they kept going!

“Councils across the country should take inspiration from Hastings Pier, and open their eyes to the unique assets that can be created when such collaborations take place,” he said.

And the man whose vision the pier was, drMM co-founder Alex de Rijke, said: “This space offered more potential than an ‘iconic’ building on the end of the pier, and demonstrates the evolving role of the architect as an agent for change.”

In a video he also described the Pier’s decline into ‘a shantytown of commercialism, and abandoned’.  The revival – ‘a Phoenix project’ – rearranged the old material of the old Pier into flexible spaces with great possibilities: education and functions in two large rooms. The transformation included the role of the architects as agents of change.

  • Watch the video by following this link

The praise was extensive and profuse. The practical regard for the Pier proved more evanescent, one of the memorial plaques on the new Pier reads: “For God’s sake look after it this time.” It was good advice, much neglected.     

Under new management

Hastings Pier had burnt down in 2010 and was rebuilt with local and Lottery money, about £14 million in all. As a tourist attraction it sadly foundered before it could flourish and in 2018 the Administrators sold it for about £60k, to a local businessman.

The new owner put toy animals across the Pier and filled full the function rooms with gaming machines. The new building’s high outdoor café-bar went unused, and unnecessary painting of the Pier railings went messily uncompleted.

Screenshot 2019-10-10 17.00.54He also disfigured the building with speakers and signage and battens, disregarding the Pier’s Grade 2 listed building status, the Conservation Area setting, and requirements for listed building consent.  Hastings Borough Council essentially let him. Planning committee reports routinely stated: “…whilst the (Stirling) award is gratefully received, it can only be given little weight in the consideration of this application”.

But this is not true. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), paragraph 189, is clear that the significance of a ‘heritage asset’ is to be considered and weighed.

Now that the Pier damage is done – in a regression towards a shantytown of commercialism – some belated enforcement action is slowly supposedly in process.

When in early 2019 planning applications were made for five large garden sheds on the Pier, the committee reports – despite precedents for refusal – ‘recommended approval’, which is then what happened.

The distinction of being a winner of the Stirling Prize was furiously discounted and disregarded. The melancholy consequence is that many winners of the Carbuncle Cup, run by Building Design, get more TLC and better maintenance than Hastings Pier.

Its ability to ‘stimulate, engage and delight’ has literally taken a battering since the summer of 2018.

Did local authorities across the country take inspiration from Hastings Pier, and open their eyes to the unique assets that can be created when such collaborations take place?  Possibly, but our local council was not among them.

The lack of civic pride shown by Hastings Borough Council is extraordinary. Nearly everywhere has it – even when there is little else to celebrate.

In Hastings however, councillors and council officers have been throwing it away for years and endangering local buildings too.

Many local residents are unimpressed, even angry. Seaside towns such as Bexhill and Worthing, which have a fraction of the architectural distinctiveness of Hastings and St Leonards, look on with quiet amusement; Battle and Rye take its tourist business; in its careless discouragement of visitors, and damage to the local economy, Hastings is in danger of turning itself into a national laughing-stock.


The 2019 shortlist for the Stirling Prize included new London Bridge Station by Nicholas Grimshaw and the Macallan Distillery on Speyside by Richard Rogers (aka Rogers Stirk Harbour) and of course The Goldsmith Street housing scheme in Norwich by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley which always seemed to be the favourite.

Screenshot 2019-10-10 16.59.49
Alex de Rijke hoped his reimagined Hastings Pier would ‘encourage ever more ambitious events’. He believed its potential was ‘endless’.

Hopefully the local authority in Norwich will not show the expensive incomprehension of Hastings Borough Council, whose lack of understanding even extends to garden towns, a concept recently revived. Hastings is in essence one, and has been one since the great James Burton arrived in the 1820s to develop St Leonards-on-Sea, assisted by his son Decimus, soon to be a founder member of RIBA.

Now the green spaces are under relentless threat, with council complicity. The cases are many: one instance is reported in the Architects’ Journal of April 2nd this year: “Hastings Borough Council is recruiting a design team to explore leisure and cultural options for the Bohemia area”.  This is Lower Bohemia, the high open area immediately north of the Pier.

Will it ever win the Stirling Prize? Or deserve to?

Time and chance would strongly suggest not.   

20 thoughts on “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone – did our council fail to grasp the significance of pier’s 2017 Stirling Prize?

  1. Superb article Bernard citing the other winners of this Stirling Prize to illustrate what an accolade it was for the pier. I have agree with you with the council’s fixation on developing the diminishing green spaces in the borough.
    And on the mention of James & Decimus Burton’s creation of Burton St Leonards, so much has been lost thanks to the past custodians of the council. In particular the Archery Ground taken for the college ( now gone ) resulted in the loss of three Burton buildings. And they eyesore Quarry Hill apartments. Another Burton building once there.
    But looking at the historic buildings of today, there is no real concern by the council for their preservation. What I call Burton Terrace the old school on the Archery ground, Grade II listed just boarded up and left for now ten years. Attempted arsons and theft of items never induced the council to act on it.
    Then there is a Grade II* listed chapel by Edward Pugin, the son of Augustus Pugin sitting in the old ex-convent of the Holy Child Jesus in Magdalen Road St Leonards. The council were asked to step in and issue an Enforcement notice to get the owners to rectify the serious disrepair of it. Here the council refused to do anything. The chapel is now on the national “At Risk” register.

    Getting back to the pier and Bernard’s informative article and based upon what I have covered. Is there any wonder there are gaming machines and shed on it?

    One final observation is wait for the flack on this Bernard.

  2. An excellent story, thank you Mr McGinley & HIF. A highly impressive piece of work, well researched & in depth. It serves to provide the bigger picture on this situation, positioning Hastings today within the national framework rather than just navel gazing locally. Topical not just with the latest Stirling Prize Awards but also what lies in store for the pier over the Autumn/Winter months ahead. It will be interesting to observe Norwich & how they monopolise on their prize short & long term. Let’s hope they can learn from the complacent attitude & mistakes Hastings Council have made. One point: The photos used to illustrate the story are all 2017 historic, instead ‘2017 before & 2019 after’ photos should have been used to illustrate the extreme changes.

  3. A well researched article. Thank you Bernard for setting this out so succinctly. I doubt if any councillor or planning officer will welcome your resume of the situation because basically between the councillors and the planning department our pier has been allowed to disintegrate into the hideous gaudy and tacky sight it is today.

    Why did the council and the planning department veer away from telling the new owner of the pier that he could not do what he has done? He appears to have the entire council over a barrel because whatever he does nobody in authority is saying anything..Shameful situation and who would have thought it could have ended like this? So very sad and the Heritage lottery team will probably think twice before they give us any more major grants.

  4. To be honest I would make the adverse comparison with Norwich stronger. There was every reason to make the 2017 Stirling Prize win the beginning of a Borough-wide commitment to good design; respect for built heritage; and quality, Council-built social housing. A Liberal Democrat Borough Council would make sure it developed the guidance, and had the officer capability to make a significant step-change in this arena.

  5. Mr McGinley

    Another self appointed, pompous arbiter of what is and what isn’t acceptable in our town. Let’s be absolutely clear here, Mr McGinley is an appalling snob and a close friend of Adam Wide who’s £1 bid to buy the pier failed. They really don’t let up do they.

    Why not move to Lewes or Bath? Go on, hop it. And when you get there… hop it again. This is a gritty town with character and you lot are pests.

    You and your little group’s £1 bid to buy the pier quite rightly failed so why not just leave it and move on? Why hang around like a bad smell trying to damage the pier’s chances of becoming a self funding, going concern? HLF had clearly had enough of you and so had Hastings, which is obviously why they stayed away from the “People’s Pier” folly.

    So we’re down to a few (in your view) daft animals to attract children, several practically invisible speakers and some allegedly badly painted railings! Gosh! Hand me my smelling salts! Have that uppity bloke flogged and turn Downton Abbey back on quick!

    I don’t suppose your faux and lofty academic approach allowed you to consider the glaringly obvious fact that Mr Gulzar’s beautifully simple act of moving a few tables to the visible side of the pavilion, plonking seating across the pier and adding a few bright objects has, initself, drawn in more passers-by and transformed the pier from a shameful lottery loser funded money pit that could apparently only be made viable with millions more, into the very thing that was envisaged. An open space for locals to congregate and enjoy must firstly to look like one and not like a cold architects black and white dream.

    Alex’s vision appealed to RIBA judges but far, far more importantly, not to the “community” as a whole. He failed. FOHP and HPC also absolutely failed on that one and voila, here we are.

    I bought an incredibly expensive Italian leather sofa once. It was the centre piece of our enormous living room. If I recall it was around £4,000 from Brown Thomas in Cork City. Unfortunately no one, not even the dogs would sit on it for more than a few minutes. I ended up giving it away. No amount of awards from furniture designers would change the fact that it just wasn’t inviting.

    So here we are. We got what we was given. Like the railway networks that remained after the investment bubble burst. Quite a result for the “people”. If you could climb down from your high horse and give the fella a break you’ll see that it’s great. It’s a shame that Jess and Co couldn’t see how simple the route to self sustainability was and could only contemplate huge charity investment as the answer. (Jess, whatever you hear, was a director and a highly paid consultant for HPC running right up to when it failed and decided to put itself sneakily into administration without calling a shareholder’s meeting. Maybe you could research that little move Bernard?).

    How many times have I read Facebook posts and comments by signalling egoists pronouncing “the pier is now dead to me”? Well the answer is, not enough. Let’s flush them out and they can stay at home watching Downton. Let it be a “real peoples pier” where they can feel comfortable and valuable rather than a reserve for the arts and crafts brigade who clearly find their taste so upsetting that they cannot mix with them.

    So much focus on a few trivial, moveable objects and not a single word as to what caused the 5000 shareholders of your dream to be shafted over night and allow this pier to fall into a “lesser person’s” hands and becoming attractive again to “lesser people”.

    When will this sniping and trolling ever end? Who do you intend to attack and blame next?

    I’ve just driven through the Basque region. It’s absolutely beautiful, but the world already knows this. Despite this and despite the Guggenheim it is also jam packed with empty factories, shops and buildings. So is Margate by the way, except for a small huddle of hobby shops and inauthentic restaurants decorated to look like they’ve been there since Dickens.

    Now that we’ve forced you to accept, on your other trolling threads, that there is no Listed building status on the visitor centre and that no Listed Building Consent is required for it, it’s become clear that you are just casting around for anything you can find to use as a stick to try and beat the new owner with. This is appalling behaviour. It’s divisive, misleading and frankly very sad.

    Maybe Bernard, it’s time to realise that your high minded elitism is part of what made “The People’s Pier” very quickly become “The Sniffy People’s Pier” and is the sole reason it failed. A Stirling prise is nice bauble but it does not give you the right to set your own criteria for how the pier should operate and to then constantly attack the person who has kindly offered to maintain it, pay the bills and ensure the staff get paid.

    A bit more comfy seating for visitors, a few less highly paid condescending managers, fewer staff and no volunteers. It was that simple. There’s art in that.

    Please go away Bernard and find something more constructive and honest to do. Let the pier staff get on with the work without this constant sniping.

    Oli Smith

  6. Does Oli Smith’s vitriol klnow no bounds? What a rude self opionating person he is…who cares if he bought an ‘incredibly expensive’ leather sofa for his ‘enormous’ sitting room..what has that got to do with the pier..and more fool him…those sofas are stuffed with formaldehyde fume emitting materials and his dog probably sensed this…a dog with more sense than its owner?
    He has insulted Bernard and enough is enough…go away Oli Smith we don’t your sort down here…go and drive around the Basque country…I am sure they would welcome your opoinions..

  7. Mr McGinley has made it his job to attack the pier and Mr Gulzar recently and now the council officers for not meeting his criteria. Who does he think he is?

    His last article in HOT was almost libellous in its inaccuracies. At least this piece is clearly just his narrow minded opinion. HOT is based in property developer Jess Steel’s offices at Rock House. It was a scandalously partisan attack upon the man she lost out in her £1 bid to. Shameless.

    Where has Bernard demonstrated that HBC have failed to do their legal duty? Does he expect them to do his bidding regardless of the law’s rightful protection for Mr Gulzar to operate his private business. This is a campaign of snobbery by failed snobs. Their branding fooled no one except the people who siftted through the charity applications. Inclusive? Tick.

    There are real people working on the pier and Mr Gulzar is a real person. Are they not included? They have to work under this pressure. They don’t deserve being trolled on social media any more than any private individual.

    Giving a balanced reply and opinion isn’t wrong and I do it in my real name too. What about you?

    The point is Mrs Marrigold, you cannot just declare something to be of genuine value no matter how much you invested in it or, in this case, because a small group of judges have decided that they like it. It’s just an architectural award and has no authority to demand that the man paying the bills should pander to you or your sector of the community’s specific taste requirements.

    The Stirling Award has no authority to demand that Hastings pier be preserved for the exclusive enjoyment of people who’s sense of taste and superiority is challenged and offended by a few gaudy installations.

    Mr McGinley is entitled to his snobbish opinions but I’m also happy to tell him what he can do with them.

  8. Wonderful article by Mr McGinley, thank you HIP. Well researched & factual focussing on the bigger picture.

    Polar opposite to
    Mr Smith: imfamous luxury sofa commentator. Irish Homes & Gardens sofa price tag, another failed company example Mr Smith might refer to from his Galactic imagination? His own long winded essay as usual self indulgent & spinning facts. Is he jealous of Mr McGinley’s ability to get his well written & researched work published on a regular basis? Mr Smith has been trolling all year long on local Facebook: spinning venomous mistruths about Friends Of Hasting Pier & anyone who dares to criticise the current owner. He also spent all year bragging that his ‘research’ will be published by the press: by HIP, HOT, HIF, The local Observer etc. 10 months on none of his accusations & slurs have been published. They remain limited to ‘comments’ & Facebook posts on unregulated pages. Sour grapes Mr Smith? It is getting terribly dull, predictable & repetitive. Why does no-one want to publish your spin?

    Some people profit from keeping Hastings ‘down’. The slum landlords & dealers like to keep it that way. An aMAYSing amount with off shore companies & accounts profiting from Hastings rental properties whilst failing to contribute. Just abusing the system for selfish profit. What a shame for Hastings it is exploited so badly. HBC should take note. Perhaps if local off shore slum landlords were better regulated there would be more funding for Stirling Prize projects.

    Thank you to HIF & Mr McGinley for raising the bar of expectation for the town. Hastings Borough Council should take note.

  9. Mays

    It didn’t require funding from the local purse. This point is now proven and as such, is now a fact. All it required was a little imagination and an understanding of its location rather than lofty statements and raising of expectations.

    It fell into the right hands and we should all be grateful and supportive.

    Go Gulzar!

  10. Mr Smith,

    Whilst you are here perhaps you would like to clarify why you have had no story published in the press. You have made repeated claims all year long that your ‘research’ would be published but it has not been. If your ‘research’ had any facts associated with it surely it would have been published many moons & months ago. As you well know Lions Group have a PR company run by a local journalist. He too could have run with your ‘research’.

    Instead whilst you simply repeat these wild claims on unregulated Facebook pages whilst professional writers (local & national) continue to publish critical articles on the pier.

    You even claimed HIF would be looking at your ‘research’. That was last winter, why is HIF & no-one else biting your bait ?

    You are entirely missing the point of the article & the bigger picture. Is the Goldsmith Street project too snobby & lofty ? Your cheer leading pom poms & snobbishness appear to be blocking your view of facts & any future vision for national standards not just Hastings.

  11. Reading the comments by this Oli Smith, whoever he is, gives me an image of a man sitting at his keyboard foaming at the mouth as he bangs out these vitriolic criticisms about Bernard’s article. It gives me an impression this man needs some anger management therapy.

    Perhaps a little history lesson about this pier and where it is today Mr Smith might be useful where issues about HBC have been raised on the issue of their failing to “failing the grasp of the significance of pier’s 2017 Stirling Prize.”

    Lets go back a few years to the era when HBC owned the pier. What did they do to manage it, care for it and preserve it ? Almost nothing and consequently offloaded it for a £1 ( I believe ) to a Panamanian registered company Ravenclaw who during their ownership of the pier did nothing but let it fall into demise, to such an extent the pier was closed down as being a dangerous structure.Following that as we know there was a red sky at night with a dubious fire destroying the pier. Then HBC suddenly discovered they had no legal recourse with a company registered in Panama. Even though, and hows this for irony, the director was based in Kent no less. One thing we will never know is if Ravenclaw had an insurance policy on the pier. Did they get paid out?

    Then faced with what to do with the remains of the pier HBC had to spend thousands on legal fees and court hearings (in the UK) to obtain Compulsory Purchase Order against Ravenclaw to recover ownership. That of course was never challenged by Ravenclaw for obvious reasons. Following that HBC found themselves embroiled in a lawsuit over compensation with one of the businesses who had rented space for the loss of income. The council challenged this lawsuit despite being advised by a local law firm not to and to settle it out of court. But taking no heed of that advice they not only went to court and lost, they went back to court to appeal the decision and lost again. So how much did all that cost the local taxpayer Mr Smith ? Well as far as I can make out from an FOI request it was getting on for nearly £2 million.

    So while you trash Bernard’s article Mr Smith think about how the pier has come to where it is today and why there is critique on the councils part. Oh and interesting snippet about your sofa but I hardly think that is a relevant issue in the scheme of things here.

  12. Sagacious

    No foaming and no broken keyboards or bits of furniture here. Just quietly and happily poking fun at pomposity. I do think that Adam’s last comment (Mays) sounded a bit frothy! Running two piers seems to have taken its toll.

    Yes, the sofa analogy should have been edited for pomposity a bit more carefully but there was a valid point. It looked lovely but no one hung around on it, like the pier. No award would have changed that. Luckily a wise old man moved a few bits of furniture around and Hey presto!

    Also that just because an independent body decides to give a prize, this should not be allowed to affect the owner’s rights to continue with their own plans. That might be what Bernard wants but thankfully it’s just not going to happen.

    I could easily join you in criticising HBC and their antecedents but that’s irrelevant. What they have done since Mr Gulzar has owned it (Part of HLF’s specific remit was to find a buyer who would not require charitable support or public funds) is to simply observe their legal duties to the letter.

    People bleat on about the admin process being unsuitable but it was Jess who decided to convert the charitable trust to a Bencom for its potential money raising advantages so with that came the disadvantages when the shit hit the fan. Sometimes you cannot have it both ways – not within the law you can’t so here we are.

    What we have here is a member of Jess and Adam’s circle, yet again using a newspaper to continue an indirect attack upon a private individual and his private business under the guise of attacking the local authority because their £1 bid was dismissed and they don’t now own the pier. It’s that simple. Sure, it’s music to your ears if you detest common people and their gaudy taste but it changes nothing. His recent direct attack upon Mr Gulzar through Hastings Online Times (based at Jess Steel Tower) was so full of inaccurate, dishonest and personal nonsense that they eventually switched off comments. He hadn’t even realised that the visitor centre is not listed so the entire article was bunk.

    The pier is private. Mr Gulzar is private. Why on earth do people feel it their right to examine his every activity and to dance to their tune. How on earth do you justify the relentless piss taking and personal attacks upon his colleagues and staff who are simply trying to go about their daily lives by the cyber trolls surrounding Jess and Adam? How would you like it? You don’t even give your identity here so think about that. It’s totally wrong. I can only imagine the waffle and painfully misleading guff throughout its ownership by the HCP Bencom and the FOHP about it being a “Community Asset” has confused the community and allowed them to mistakenly project their expectations upon it as if it were genuinely a community asset and these were public officials guilty of some misdermeaner with our assets. They are not. They seem to treat Mr Gulzar and his affairs as if he was running a genuine community asset.

    Why should he be subjected to this kind of scrutiny or demands? Because he bought the pier? I’m part way through restoring a significant Grade 2 listed building and if anyone thinks that I should be advertising and discussing my plans or taking their advice on what I do with it or how quickly with every Tom, Dick or Harry that thinks they know better then you really would see someone foaming.

    Fortunately, the pier is now doing nicely, attracting locals and being maintained. If it is not attracting the kind of people who liked Mr McGinley’s opinion articles then perhaps that really is the best for all.

    Right. Time for tea. Or was that supper?

  13. Mr McGinley has been well regarded for many years for his excellent highly informative articles about a broad spectrum of local planning matters in Hastings independent press publications. They are always written in a highly professional way with excellent factual research. A handful of his scores of articles have been about the pier.

    Meanwhile on this thread more L O N G fictional frothing accusations from pier fanatic Smith. The same old signature dish on the ragged menu, stirring the internet supper pot: confused muddle of names, connections & crazed accusations. Again resorting to attacking Mr McGinley & FOHP members in trade underhand way before glossing over the sorry state of the pier. Entirely avoiding the question as to why his own ‘research’ has never made it to print despite him spending 10 months on unmoderated Facebook pages claiming that ‘proper’ journos were looking at it ? He sides steps this question resorting back to spitting out old trolling slurs peppered in with a few new ones completing tonights unappetising supper pot.

    It is laughable that Smith falsely accuses the writer of ‘inaccurate, dishonest and personal nonsense’. Smith once again reflects his own trolling behaviour & character traits on to others.

    ‘They eventually switched off comments’ here Smith goes again reflecting his own trolling behaviour onto others, renowned for his vicious trouble making trolling on anything Pier related. Thriving on wasting Admin/Moderator time with his anger fuelled & often libellous tirades.

    ‘How on earth do you justify the relentless piss taking and personal attacks upon his colleagues and staff who are simply trying to go about their daily lives by the cyber trolls’ : er’ how does Smith justify his relentless piss taking & personal attacks on people ?

    Were it not so relentlessly vicious this repetitive hypocrisy would be laughable. Forget architecture awards, the red carpet is rolling out for best trolling award 2019 for Mr Smith. Perhaps in the form of a engraved shiny L A R G E mirror to sit over the ‘L A R G E’ sofa inside that ‘L A R G E’ property.

  14. Thank you Adam “two piers” Wide (Mays)

    Almost identical to your PM last night. Let’s not get over excited. Let’s look at the alleged problem that justifies these antisocial attacks upon Mr Gulzar and his employees shall we. One step at a time.

    Step 1. You accuse my demand for common decency as “…glossing over the sorry state of the pier”? I disagree but let’s explore your justification.

    You appear to be arguing that none of my concerns about the trolling of the pier and it’s staff by you and your friends is valid because his neglect is so serious, it far outweigh those concerns.

    Peoples right to go about their honest day’s work and operating their private business without being trolled on social media is, or at least should be, their basic civil right. Perhaps you disagree. Perhaps your group’s wishes trump that right because you believe you have an arbitrary right to abuse whom ever you chose. You need to explain.

    Perhaps you can explain exactly what you mean by “… glossing over the sorry state of the pier”. What do you mean? Are you seriously suggesting that I’m only commenting on your antics for fun or because I’m a sad meany who is ignoring an unfolding calamity?

    So, are you talking about it’s current self sustaining charity free finances compared with Jess’s much subsidised HPC which still went bust in quick step or are you suggesting that it is now in some kind of rapid physical decline?

    Knock yourself out Adam. Go for it! You having failed to personally witness engineers at work, considering that you don’t actually live under the pier like a normal troll would, is not acceptable evidence by the way. I know that’s a popular theme on your WDWGFP group but let’s be honest, they really are beyond all reason.

    Go on Adam.

  15. Oh dear Smith what are you rambling on about now & to whom ?!

    So to clarify : Zero press interest, no-one taking your ‘research’ seriously. Nothing you have stated has made it to print or ever will. Nothing more to discuss then.

    Carry on howling your conspiracy theories to the moon.

  16. Mays, or as you like to be known to potential you investors, Adam “Two Piers” Wide

    I think all that projection and personal abuse towards me as a side step to the question is what you would refer to as ad hominem. There’s no bile or vitriol in my comments at all. Just the calling out of a group of trolls and bullies and explaining what’s going on here. I’m perfectly calm, apart from having just woken up covered in mosquito bites.

    So, let’s get back to addressing your stated justification for the relentless trolling by you and your pals of a private person, their staff and the general attempts to disrupt his business.

    “…the sorry state of the pier.” Please expand Adam.

    Here’s a starter for you, to get you going like….

    “Unnecessarily painted and messily finished railings.” Can’t a foreign national be publicly flogged for that?

    Messy priming was Bernard’s previous comment on that on HOT as well as his deep concerns that they might be planning to paint them the right colour! Apparently he’d detected a few specs of primer on the ground. Really! Maybe he’s using FBI profiling techniques to single out his potential trouble makers. A picture would have been nice so we could all say whether we liked the colour.

    The confusing and odd thing with this one is that the FOHP mantra, in fact the thrust of the property developer millionaire Jess Steele’s attack upon the 73 year old Mr Gulzar was that as an obviously inferior being, he simply wasn’t capable of grasping the importance of maintaining such an important structure like she was – let alone being honest enough to do so but here we are today, trumping up charges that he painted some railings unnecessarily.

    I personally found that attack a lot more shocking and offensive than I would a few specs of grey primer on a grey floor, or that he’d jumped the gun and got on with some allegedly unnecessary maintenance.

    Come on sun shine. Make an effort.

    “…the sorry state of the pier.” Your words. Please explain.

    Adam….? Mr Mc Ginley?

    I’ll leave you with one more thing. The fire in the underfloor electrics shortly after the takeover. Electrical works carried out and signed off by HPC. Who’s watch?

  17. Good morning Mr Smith. You are working yourself up about this & as per usual using any platform as an excuse to fire off accusations & conspiracy theories at FOHP. A company from summer 2018 long disbanded. Their directors have long moved onto other projects. You still choose to single them out & troll them in this obsessive way as a diversionary tactic to any proper conversation about the pier management.

    Your obsession is so great that you have now come on to this platform to accuse local commentators of being those very individuals. A bizarre game of troll role playing I am not going to engage with.

    I am just a local Hastings resident long tired of watching the deteriorating state of the pier over the past year, the unfulfilled promises & lack of vision. The business vision promised by the owner to the administrators has not materialised. Excuses, blame game & fake news take over the local Facebook pages as you Mr Smith & other defenders of this sorry situation try to obliterate any questions by the public.

    I am not Mr Wide, I am not Mr McGinley, I am not part of your Friends Of Hastings Pier conspiracy theory game board. I am not even a supporter of FOHP. I am simply a member of public, one of the many local residents wanting the best future for the pier be that under any type of ownership, private or community.

    This town deserves better & it’s local representatives HBC & it’s MP should be doing a lot more work in ensuring that.

    Let’s get back to the content of Mr McGinley’s excellent story & the facts.

  18. Interesting article, well written & researched. Well done Norwich for their Stirling win last week, an innovative council I gather from friends who live up there.

    High time the spotlight was shone on Hastings Borough Council. It would be interesting to see Hastings In Focus do a follow up piece with a response from the council leader & his team responsible for overseeing best care of the pier. Also our MP whilst she is still around, as she has also had a duty of care in this which will be passed over to her successor, let’s hope Rudd briefs them well on this complicated saga.

    With winter setting in it is vital best care plan is in place to avoid the town suffering any further misfortunes with this historic important land mark. The pier has been the talking point of the town ever since it was first built & will remain so whoever owns it. If you buy a globally famous historic landmark public interest & criticism are part of the business package. Absurd to think otherwise.

    Great that Hastings has such a high level of quality independent journalism reporting on planning matters & other critical issues entirely overlooked by the ‘soft’ local Observer paper. Thanks Stuart Baillie for HIF, Bernard McGinley & all the rest of the writers across town for the careful research expressed so eloquently in this & the other indie publications. Rare these days & is much appreciated. Hastings should & can can be proud of this.

  19. The time surely has come to stop any more rants from Oli Smith – enough is enough and he needs to take his virtriol elsewhere. Many have had enough of this, .No other commentaors have stooped so low with such personal insults. Time to stop.

Comments are closed.


The sad history of St Leonards Parish Church

Once again courtesy of Derelict In The UK we bring you photographs of iconic and deserted buildings, this time St Leonards Parish Church. Standing grand on the St Leonards seafront, this beautiful building was completed in 1961 to replace its predecessor destroyed by a direct hit from V-1 ‘doodlebug’. It originally had structural building problems […]

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