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Future of Hastings Pier plans in doubt after sale to sheikh

The prospects for the second phase of dRMM’s regeneration of Hastings Pier are uncertain following the venue’s sale by administrators to sheikh Abid Gulzar, the owner of Eastbourne Pier

Administrators announced on Friday that it had rejected the sale of the pier to a community group, which had raised almost £500,000 through crowdfunding to take the pier into community ownership.

The group had planned to progress dRMM’s second phase of improvements after the £14.2 million first phase won last year’s Stirling Prize.

However, a statement by administrators Adam Stephens and Finbarr O’Connell, of accountancy firm Smith and Williamson, raised the prospect of the plans being revisited.

It said: ‘Gulzar intends to honour all the events that have been booked at Hastings Pier this year during the administration period.

‘Furthermore, all staff have been transferred. Mr Gulzar is also keen to engage with the local community and will be delivering his ideas for investing in the pier in due course.’

The decision to pick the Gulzar bid was greeted with dismay by the Friends of Hastings Pier, the group which crowdfunded £477,000 to bring the facility into community ownership.

On Twitter the group said: ‘It’s a disgrace. £14 million of public money handed to a private buyer for peanuts.

‘Where was Hastings Borough Council and where were the councillors when the community needed them? So angry at this decision. It belongs to the people, to the community, not to one private individual.’

On Twitter, Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said that she would request an early meeting with the new operator ‘to ensure community concerns [are] addressed’.

Administrators said that the sale is subject to a reversion clause, giving Hastings rights over acquisition if it was sold again within two years.

In addition, all the heritage assets of the pier will be transferred to Hastings Museum, ‘which will allow future generations the opportunity to understand and appreciate the significant cultural impact and history of the Pier on Hastings,’ the statement said.

No one from dRMM was available for comment.

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