EASTBOURNE PIER - PROPOSED MARITIME CENTRE
VICTORIAN SPLENDOR - This attractive pier had many gift shops, bars and restaurants. A charity raft race was held each summer. It is now a blot on the seascape and a liability to any operator. This monument is today on the At Risk register with English Heritage. Take a look at the chronology below and keep your fingers crossed for some common sense to prevail.
1865 - The Eastbourne Pier Company Ltd was formed in 1865.
1866 - The first pile was driven on April 18th 1866.
1870 - Lord Edward Cavendish officially opened the pier, designed by Eugenius Birch, on 13th June 1870.
1872 - However, work on the 1000 foot pier, landing stage, kiosk and windbreak was not finally completed until 1872.
1887 - A storm washed away the shoreward end on New Year’s Day 1877. It was rebuilt at a higher level.
1888 - The first 400-seat theatre was constructed for just £250 at the seaward end in 1888.
1899 - It was replaced by a 1000-seat theatre, bar, camera obscura and pier office complex in 1899-1901.
1893 - A new landing stage was constructed in 1893.
1901 - two saloons mid-way along the pier were built in 1901.
1912 - In 1912, new entrance buildings were added.
1925 - In 1925, a 900-seat music pavilion was constructed at the shoreward end. This was used as a ballroom before becoming an amusement arcade.
1940 - In 1940, decking was removed for the duration of the war and machine guns were installed in the pier theatre.
1951 - A new kidney-shaped entrance building was constructed in 1951.
1968 - Trust House Forte bought the pier in 1968.
1970 - The theatre was destroyed by fire in January 1970. It was rebuilt as a ‘Dixieland’ showbar and was used for discos and cabaret.
- A £250,000 facelift, in 1985, gave the pier a major new arcade.
- The Duke of Devonshire opened a new £500,000 entrance building on 15th June 1991.
1997 - The pier is illuminated at night and was voted ‘Pier of the Year’ in 1997 by members of the National Piers Society.
- The refurbished camera obscura was opened to the public in 2003.
2013 - In October 2013, a licence application to extend the opening hours of the pier's Atlantis nightclub was rejected following considerable opposition from within the town.
2014 - On the 30th of July of 2014 the Blue Room was destroyed by a fire thought to have been an arson attack.
2015 - In June of 2015, plans for a temporary fairground were refused by Eastbourne Borough Council on the grounds of noise and light pollution.
2015 - In August of 2015 two potential buyers were reported to be interested in purchasing the pier by the BBC. One of the buyers was later identified as Sheikh Abid Gulzar in an article published by the Eastbourne Herald.
Property agent Bilfinger GVA said it had been instructed to undertake a "strategic options review". Cuerden Leisure has already sold three piers this year - Blackpool's South and Central Piers and the Grade II listed Llandudno Pier - for a total of £8.5m.
2015 - In September of 2015 Cleaner Oceans Club trustees voted to develop a rescue package for the beleaguered pier. Communications with the owners are confidential. The pier is not for sale on the open market. At the time of writing we are told that emails to Eastbourne Council's Robert Cottrill and Councillor David Tutt (78 Ringwood. Road ... Tel: 01323 643971 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) from mid September 2015 remain unanswered.
VICTORIAN SPLENDOR - Probably the most attractive pier in its heyday, Brighton's west pier spells the writing on the wall for any owner who has a mediocre, or non-existent business plan. Once a fire has gutted part of a pier, history tells us that the end in not that far away. All the best intentions in the world will not pay for routine maintenance on one of these seaside palaces.
COMMUNITIES - Two days after the fire on 30 July last year, David Cameron promised
£2 million in cash, but traders criticised the length of time took to
Penny: 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Cosham, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN
HASTINGS PIER & BRIGHTON'S WEST PIER
As case studies, both Brighton and Hastings piers tell the story of the decline of the south coast of England as tourist resorts. The high spending target audience are all sunning themselves in Europe, Egypt - or anywhere, but not in England. The remaining customers are retirees hankering for a last reminder of their youth, which is wonderful in itself, but those with memories of days gone by are a diminishing audience, and being retired, they are no longer the big earners or spenders that an economic recovery needs in order to turn around the fortunes of speculators who have gambled on a town that is heading in the wrong direction - that is itself led by retired local politicians, who are not in keeping with the times.
A fire typically spells the beginning of the end, followed by bankruptcy. That is unless the owners can come up with a rescue package that is spectacular. Civil servant employees of local authorities may be more in tune with reality, but being in tune will advise their councillors not to dabble with the compulsory purchases of white elephants, such as high-maintenance structures pointing out to sea and storms. Councils are already strapped for cash from years of empire building and a failure to recognize the need for affordable housing, for example. Up until recently, nobody in a council knew what a circular economy was, let alone put into practice sustainable policies - even though Agenda 21 has been on the cards for over 23 years, since the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
Councils would rather milk foolish entrepreneurs all starry eyed, heading in lemming fashion for their wallets in a vague hope that all will come good if they keep their fingers crossed and butter up the local members. All too often it's the blind leading the blind - who perhaps need longer walking sticks to feel a path away from the financial precipice before them.
It's time then for another air show to pull in more punters for the pier operators and hoteliers clamoring for some action. But now with so many fatal crashes, questions are being asked as to the price being paid for such short-term quick fixes. The RAF are of course keen to oblige because their recruitment drive depends on the Red Arrows being given opportunities to cloud up the skies with red and blue and gray smoke. Holy smoke for the MOD perhaps.
HERITAGE VANDALISM - This is all that is left of Brighton's west pier today. Apathy combined with a lack of vision will see the end of any building, regardless of location. It does not help that iron and steel rust and that seawater contains salt that accelerates the rusting process. You may care to agree that it is all but criminal negligence to sell one of these icons to any group or person who does not have a business plan that has some chance of sustaining a comprehensive maintenance program. Transparency should be the buzz word when it comes to evaluating proposals that do not include a plan for a sustainable future.
E'B PIER CURRENT OWNERS
CROWN ENTERTAINMENT CENTRES LIMITED
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