Hastings Pier was devastated by fire in October 2010, but with the support of local residents and a good number of reinforcing universal steel beams, the substructure was saved and a new boardwalk has been installed on top.
The structure, which is nearly 150 years old, was all but lost in the blaze – but locals had already applied for lottery funding to restore it to its former glory.
A quick revision to their application led to them securing a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £11.4 million, while they were able to raise another £2.5 million from other funding sources, and residents contributed £600,000 of their own money through a community share deal too.
The bulk of the money – £9 million of the £15 million total spent on the restoration – went on restoring the substructure and ironwork of the pier, of which 70% had to be replaced, rather than the 50% that was originally expected.
New balustrades were installed, along with new utilities – the 21st century pier now has free Wi-Fi access with the optimistic password ‘sunshine’ – and a new sustainable Ekki wood boardwalk.
Underneath, the work was an opportunity to install steel beams to reinforce the infamous ‘gap’ in the pier, which was carved in two during World War II to prevent it being used as a landing stage in the event of a sea invasion.
After planks were placed back on top, there was always a wobble in the wind, but now the steel beams installed mean this is actually one of the most stable parts of the pier.
The budget covered the £1.5 million cost of demolishing and dismantling the parts of the pier that could not be saved, as well as £2.5 million to restore the Pavilion restaurant, and for the construction of a visitor centre and roof terrace.