Battle firm helping to restore fire-hit pier

1/4/14- Work in progress on Hastings Pier. SUS-140104-132400001
1/4/14- Work in progress on Hastings Pier. SUS-140104-132400001

A BATTLE firm is doing its bit to help restore an important local landmark to its former glory.

A ferocious blaze swept through Hastings Pier in October 2010, leaving a mess of twisted metal and scorched wooden decking in its wake.

After years of legal wrangling and hard work from the public, work finally started on rebuilding the Victorian structure earlier this year.

Around a dozen companies are involved in the major project, including In Situ of Battle, which was on the site on Tuesday morning.

The firm, based in Vale Road, took advantage of the low spring tide to carry out crucial core sample work underneath the pier.

David Spooner, project manager, said: “In Situ was on the beach with their kit do to some core samples, so we can work out how sturdy the ground is where the Heritage Centre is going.

“They force a pipe down into the ground and keep forcing until it hits something hard, which is hopefully a rock.

“It’s so we know we can go 35ft down when we put our foundations in.”

He added: “It’s just a small part, but a very crucial part.

“Without that we would be guessing as to what’s there.”

In Situ will be joined by other local companies including South Coast Structures of St Leonards and Best Demolition in Heathfield, in helping to restore Hastings Pier.

Twenty workmen were on site on Tuesday, with up to 50 expected to be on site when the work hits its peak.

The revamped pier is due to open in spring 2015.

The project was hampered by poor weather at the start of the year, but Mr Spooner remains confident.

He said: “We had a bad couple of weeks with the weather, which cost us a bit of time, but we are hopeful we can make that up. If the weather stays like this, we have every chance to do that.”

Money raised through community shares is being used to complete the rebuild and build attractions on the pier - which could include a restaurant, micro brewery and Heritage Centre, as well as an urban park for funfairs, a circus, open-air cinema and farmers’ markets.

So far 1800 people from Hastings, Battle, Rye and beyond have bought shares worth £421,850, with the Pier Charity aiming to raise £500,000 by the time the scheme closes at midnight on April 5 (Saturday).

Tim Fordham-Moss, spokesman for the Pier Charity, said: “People from Battle and Rye have supported us, there is no doubt about it. And we are very grateful. Without them and all our shareholders, this would not happen.”

To buy shares, visit