The project aims to restore the substructure, deck and railings as well as setting up an educational programme and offer pier engineer apprenticeships with Sussex Coast College. It is hoped together with the commercial arm of the People’s Pier, it will provide educational and volunteering opportunities in the 19th most deprived town in the country.
Angela Davis, HPWRT trustee who led the application said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting our project. This news strengthens our resolve to continue working with Hastings Borough Council to secure the pier‟s ownership so we can deliver the vision of an iconic pier for Hastings.”
There is still a lot of work to do. Now that the pier has passed the first round, the trust has two years to submit the full proposal. And the trust will still need to match 10% (£800, 000) of the HLF criteria.
Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund was extremely impressed by the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust‟s ability to mobilise enthusiastic support from the town‟s local community for this innovative project. It was evident to us that this was a historic structure that people really cared about. The Trust is right at the start of their journey to fully restore the Pier and we look forward to working closely with them in the coming months as their plans begin to take further shape.”
Back in its glory days, Hastings Pier played host to several influential bands in the 60’s and 70s – notably Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Opened in 1872, it was one of the seven surviving piers by Victorian pier designer Eugenius Birch.