Hastings Pier sold after charity owner went into administration

The pier has been sold to the businessman Abid Gulzar for £50,000 by the Hastings Pier Charity

Hastings Pier
Hastings Pier

Hastings pier has been sold for £50,000 after the charity that owned it went into administration, Third Sector understands.

The Hastings Pier Charity went into administration late last year and the pier has now been sold to the businessman Abid Gulzar, who also owns Eastbourne Pier.

This has happened despite a local campaign run by Friends of Hastings Pier to buy the pier for the local community, which raised £477,000.

The pier was restored and reopened last year with the help of an £11.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Amber Rudd, former Home Secretary and MP for Hastings and Rye, said on Twitter the new buyer had said that the pier would still be free to access for the public. She said she would meet the administrators to address any local concerns.

In a statement, the pier’s administrators, Smith & Williamson, said that Gulzar’s bid "demonstrated the best immediate financial capability as well as the operational capacity and experience, including from running Eastbourne Pier".

The statement said that significant cash for working capital and investment purposes, amounting to more than £1m, would be required to make the pier sustainable.

The pier, which first opened in 1872, fell into disrepair during the 1990s because of storm damage and neglect, and was finally closed to the public in 2008.

The structure was badly damaged by fire in 2010, but a group set up to save the pier persuaded the local council to allow it to take over the structure through a charity established in 2011.

The pier was put up for sale with the intention of selling before April this year to allow the new owners to run the pier during the summer months, which is the pier’s main trading period.

Adam Stephens, lead administrator at Hastings Pier, said: "We have been working hard with all stakeholders to create other protections for the pier’s future and heritage assets.

"Therefore, the sale is subject to a reversion clause, which means that in the event that the pier is resold in the next two years, there are certain provisions that are in favour of Hastings Borough Council acquiring it."

Eilish McGuinness, director of operations at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "We were saddened that the Hastings Pier Charity had to make the decision to enter administration and we funded the process to allow the pier to remain open while future options were considered.

"This decision by the administrators will ensure this Stirling Prize winning pier has a sustainable future and continues to make a significant contribution to Hastings’ prosperity and culture."

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