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Success for newspaper's campaign to save pier

A campaign by a weekly newspaper to restore a disused pier to its former glory has been hailed a success after it won council backing.

The Hastings Observer launched its ‘Save Our Pier’ campaign last year to save the town’s historic pier, which has been closed for four years.

Last month it presented a 3,000-name petition to the local council, urging it to work with the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust to ensure the pier can be reopened.

Now the authority has decided to start the process of securing a Compulsory Purchase Order for the attraction to force the current owners to sell up, earmarking £200,000 to meet the legal costs of this.

Ownership of the structure will then be handed over to the trust to restore it, as the paper was urging in its campaign.

Observer editor Keith Ridley said: “Since we started this campaign, we have seen more than 3,000 people sign a petition and countless others put our Save Our Pier posters up in their windows.

“The people have certainly spoken, so well done to the council for listening.”

The newspaper estimated the town had lost out on an estimated 750,000 visitors and more than £9m in tourism revenues since the 138-year-old pier was closed.

A report commissioned by the trust revealed the front two sections of the pier could be restored and brought back into use for around £8m.

The group will now seek grants to do this and trust spokesman Chris Dodwell thanked the Observer for its campaign.

He said: “This is good news not just for the pier but for the economic regeneration of the whole of Hastings.”