Hastings Pier's owner given two-month work deadline

image captionThe blaze, which began in the early hours of 5 October 2010, took crews four days to put out

The owner of Hastings Pier is to be given two months to start repair work before the local council sets a compulsory purchase order in motion.

It follows the completion of urgent work to stabilise the pier by Hastings Borough Council with the help of a £118,000 grant from English Heritage.

The pier was close to collapse earlier this year after a fire in October 2010.

Since the fire, owner Panamanian-based Ravenclaw has failed to respond to approaches by the council.

The council cabinet is to receive a report on progress to safeguard the pier at its meeting on Monday and is expected to approve the next step.

'Integral to heritage'

A repairs notice will be served on Ravenclaw by the end of November, giving the company two months to respond.

If no response is received, the council will enact the compulsory purchase.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged £357,400 towards restoration of the pier as a down-payment on full funding of £8.75m.

Ownership of the pier will be held in perpetuity on behalf of the residents of Hastings by the Hastings Pier Charity, set up by the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust.

"Hastings Pier is an integral part of our heritage, and the council and the trust have been working closely together to ensure that it has a sustainable future," said Councillor Peter Chowney.

"We already have the necessary planning and listed building consents in place for the works, and shortly expect to conclude a legal agreement with the trust.

"We can then serve the repairs notice."

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