Community shares offered in derelict Hastings Pier

Proposed renovated pier
Image caption The Hastings Pier Charity hope to sell around 3,000 shares

Shares in a derelict seaside pier that was almost destroyed by fire three years ago will be offered to the community to aid its restoration.

Hastings Pier is being rebuilt with £14m of money raised mainly through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is now hoped a further £300,000 can be raised by selling 3,000 shares for £100 each.

The charity behind the restoration said investors would have a say in the pier's future.

The 140-year-old structure was almost completely destroyed by fire in October 2010.

'People's pier'

Simon Opie, CEO of the Hastings Pier Charity, said the shares were important to continue interest in the pier after its restoration.

Image caption The 140-year-old structure was almost completely destroyed by fire in 2010

He said: "[The shares] are not just about the money, but it is about creating shareholder members, people who are invested in the pier, people who care about the town, the heritage of the pier, and people who will be here for the long term.

"The money that we have raised will restore the pier but beyond that it needs to have an economically viable future and that's what we hope we will create."

The Panamanian company Ravenclaw, which owned the pier, was issued with a compulsory purchase order after it failed to carry out repair work.

The order was granted in 2012 and the council formally took ownership of the pier in August.

It is hoped the restoration will be completed by spring 2015.

Hastings Council leader, Jeremy Birch, said: "This is the people's pier so let them have a stake in it."

The shares will go on sale on Saturday through a community shares website.

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