Scores of people had the opportunity to walk on a newly reopened Sussex pier this morning (Wednesday, April 27) as it opened its doors to the public.
The phased reopening of Hastings Pier started today following two years of renovation works at a cost of £14.2 million.
A full service bar and restaurant is now open in the newly renovated pavilion building, as well as a funfair.
The café and roof terrace in the new The Deck at Hastings Pier building will open over the next few days, Hastings Pier Charity said.
Simon Opie, chief executive officer of Hastings Pier Charity, said: “It’s a massive milestone in the project to finally be opening the gates to the public.
“It’s going to take a bit of getting used to. I think it’s slightly surreal seeing people on the pier today because it’s almost exactly how we said it would be.”
More than £11 million was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to fund the bulk of the pier project, as well as £2.5 million from other sources.
Hastings Pier Charity raised more than £600,000 from more than 3,000 investors in a bid to attract shareholder interest, additional funding and a secure future for the new pier.
Shares were available for a six-month period from October 2013.
Mr Opie said: “We were hoping to raise £500,000 and with it, an involved, concerned shareholder group so we’re enormously pleased to have exceeded the financial target and that more than 60 per cent of the investors are local to Hastings and the surrounding areas.”
There will be a series of open air film screenings to continue the opening, starting on Thursday, May 12 with Re: A Pier the story of the renovation of Hastings Pier, told by film-maker, Archie Lauchlan, followed by Jaws on the Friday and an outdoor screening of Star Wars – the Force Awakens on Saturday, May 14.
Work will continue on the digital archive of the pier’s history including oral memories and memorabilia to be digitally available from the Lower Deck archive room once the computer systems have been installed and tested.
Hastings Pier will be fully open for the planned gala celebration of the completion of the works on Saturday, May 21.
Madness is headlining a day of exploring the musical heritage of the pier following a formal opening ceremony that morning.
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