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Christmas message from the Pier Trust

Good News for the future of
the Pier

Three trustees of the HB Pier
Trust attended the executive meeting of Canterbury City Council last Thursday
and although they arrived smarting from the negative vibes in the press about
an ultimatum to “shape up or ship out”, they were pleasantly
surprised by the positive attitude of the councillors at the meeting. Anyone
wanting to hear what actually happened and what was said can listen to the
recording
of the executive meeting on the CCC website.

Repairs to the Existing Pier

The first item on the agenda
relating to the pier was what actions should be taken about the poor condition
of the wood in the substructure – not the planks you see when you walk on the
pier but the wooden joists underneath them. The Pier Trust and CCC had already
discussed this problem and it was mutually agreed that the Trust is not in a
position financially to tackle repairs on this scale. This was a major reason
for the Pier Trust preferring the management of the pier to remain at present
with the council. Until it has established the hut village as a regular source
of income, it knows it is not ready to take on management of the pier.

The 4 options to fund the
urgently needed repairs ranged from a 2 year patch-up to a major overhaul and
the good news for Herne Bay and the Pier Trust is that the executive
unanimously voted for the best option which will cost in the region of
£200,000. It will be carried out in stages with minimal disruption to the short
term plans to progress activities on the pier.

That Report!

Dawn Hudd, the Culture
Officer’s report
was the next item about the future of the pier and it also
contained 4 options: close the pier, hand over management to the Pier Trust,
CCC to retain management, or a combination of the latter two options. Both the
CCC and Pier Trust favoured this recommended option 4 – that the CCC retain
control including maintenance costs until the Pier Trust is in a sufficiently
strong financial position to take over management. This, especially in the
light of this year’s huge maintenance bill, is seen as the only realistic
option for us this year.

The executive councillors
expressed very supportive comments about the current Pier Trust. They wished us
well with the plans we are submitting for a beach hut village up the leg of the
pier. The executive viewed the pier as an integral part of the regeneration
plans for Herne Bay. Mr John Gilbey, Leader of CCC, said he had attended our
AGM and assured us that CCC did not want to stand in the way of any sustainable
ideas and only wanted what was right for Herne Bay and the Pier. We three
trustees thought the comments at the meeting fair and positive.

The Adventure Golf on the
Platform

Last week, we met with Mr
Cain to discuss his plans for a crowd-pulling tourist attraction on the tarmac
of the platform. The Trust is happy to work together with Mr Cain and the beach
hut village and the Smugglers’ Adventure Golf will be mutually beneficial this
year both bringing in tourists and locals. There will still be full access for
walkers to enjoy the walks on the pier. Mr Cain will be investing a large
amount in the pier and hopes to attract over 5000 visitors to the pier in
August. Maybe next winter we shall see the pier lit up with lights and a
Christmas Market complete with Santa on the pier.

Looking forward to 2013

Thank you for all your
support this year. Don’t believe all you read in the press – we have come to
realise that a good story built on a few disconnected comments is often a
priority for journalists – we are learning, with difficulty, to take it as
modern media speak.

A special thank you goes to
our volunteers who have been standing in the cold this month outside
supermarkets meeting members, collecting subs, manning the office and the
Santa’s grotto in the bandstand and doing so much to keep us going. Their help
is much appreciated by us. Thank you.

The Office in the Pier
Gallery on Central Parade is now up and running and we are in the process of
sorting out the administrative problems that we have suffered in the last year.
Hopefully 2013 will be a good year all round for the Trust.

We are moving the Wine and
Wisdom date from the 4th of January to a later date as general opinion
indicates that was too near Christmas. We shall email you the new date as soon
as possible. The bands event specifically aimed at the younger audience will take
place at the King’s Hall on Feb 9th and tickets will be available at £5 each in
the New Year – we shall email you with details then.

If any Member wishes to stand
themselves or wishes to nominate another Member to stand for the role of
trustee next year we are looking specifically for members with expertise in the
following areas : legal experience, promotional expertise, financial and
fund-raising (big fund-raising!) expertise.

Lastly but by no means least
come down to the Bandstand at the weekend and find out more about the 2013 on
the Pier. We together with other community organisations will be there between
11:00am and 4:00pm. Santa will also be there so bring the kids or grandkids and
they will receive a free gift. All we ask is that you bring a few tins of food
as a donation to the parcels that will be given to the less fortunate at
Christmas.

Happy Christmas

Doreen Stone & Joe Howes – Joint Chairmen

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