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Easter Newsletter from the Pier Trust

The trustees would like to
thank you for all the support you have given us the last few months and we wish
you a very happy Easter break.

There is a lot going on at
present – it looks as if the planning permission for a retail village on the
pier is going to be successful and we are now busy with bids for the money to
build it. This is an exciting time for the regeneration of the pier. We have a
vision that by next Christmas we shall all see the pier lit up like a ship with
people buying their jacket potatoes, pancakes and mulled wine and browsing
among the shopping units for gifts.

This spring, special thanks
goes to the 87 members who replied either by letter or email to our last
newsletter – many of you wrote up to a page on what you would like to happen on
the pier, both short and long term. With this high level of supportive response
– nearly 25% of our membership writing to us – we really feel that we now know
what members of HBPT want from us and we promise that we shall do our best to
implement your wishes. As trustees of a charity our first responsibility is to
represent our members’ opinions.

Over the next four weeks, we
aim to reply to everyone who sent in their views and answer any questions you
put to us.

Best wishes, Doreen Stone,
HBPT Chairman.

Bringing the Pier to Life in 2013

Do you or someone you know
want to sell seaside goods? Looking for a prime outlet for quality crafts and
produce? Where better than on the pier!

Come and talk to the Pier
Trust about it. HBPT is inviting established and new businesses, individuals
and groups to apply for one of its beach hut kiosks.

The 18 Pier Trust Retail
Beach Kiosks for which we have put in planning permission will run up the right
hand side of the leg and round the corner onto the platform. They will make a
bright cheery shopping place much the same as the one at Whitstable Harbour but
more fun and with lots more colour.

We envisage the beach hut
village offering quality traditional seaside products including gifts, sweets
and rock, ices, artwork, crafts, seaside gifts, toys, fish and chips, sea
foods, farmers’ produce, plants, jewellery and books. However, the Trust is
open to ideas and will welcome all enquiries for other sales.

Please drop a note with your
contact details into the Pier Trust Gallery and Shop or email us on
hbpt.office@gmail.com to discuss your enquiry.

The big advantage for the
initial 12 – 14 units will be that they will be cleverly situated to utilize
the existing canopy for extra protection against rain and wind with windshields
in the gaps between the huts. This will provide shoppers with a sheltered
walkway in all weathers. 

Despite the Trust’s
reservations about the mini-golf – reservations which we sent to CCC when we
first heard about the plans in mid-November – an attraction aiming to bring
additional people past the beach hut kiosks is likely to make the units very
viable. (Incidentally, we heard about the mini golf plans at the same time as
we had just submitted our own business plans for the platform including a
community stage, events marquis, café and seating.)

The retail kiosks will be
decorated in traditional beach hut colours with lock-up counters and
electricity. On the back walls, the huts will spell out HERNE BAY PIER .We also
hope to remove, replace or decorate some of the unsightly blue panels dividing
the leg of the pier.

The business plan we have now
submitted is based on a monthly rental of approximately £275 per unit – less
than £70 a week which includes electricity. Established businesses will also be
liable for rates but new sellers with a small turnover will be rate free. As we
have received a lot of enquiries from people such as artists who want to book a
unit for a short term, we are currently reconsidering this.  For longer term bookings, even if the kiosk
is available for 12 months, we shall only be charging for 10 months to take
into account the weather conditions.

One beach hut will be
reserved without charge for community groups and charities to book into.

The Trust has a lot of
additional ideas for the pier area including temporary concessions, farmers’
markets, art weekends, antique markets and exhibitions. We are also still
considering a ‘shared community use’ stage for live music and possibly a film
or two…Jaws or Mama Mia – which one first?

Recent Events since New Year

Herne Bay Music Launch at King’s Hall 

We would like to thank Emily
Edwards who contacted us last summer to discuss her and business partner, Carl
Crane’s, plans to launch their Herne Bay Music with first proceeds donated to
the Pier Trust. We were delighted that the musical evening of February 9th at
the King’s Hall was such a success. More than 250 people of all ages attended
and had a wonderfully well organised evening of music.

Trustees first met Emily, who
is only 18 and still at school, when she presented a remarkably professional pitch
to the Board last summer and we are glad we chose to support her plans. The
managers of the King’s Hall transformed the ballroom and with the help of
ex-trustee, David Shepherd, the evening was full of good humour and music of up
and coming bands.

Well done, Emily and Carl,
and thank you for the donation to the Pier Trust. It was a pleasure to work
with you. Wait until we are ready for performance on the pier! We’ll have a
venue to be proud of.

Gallery and Shop News

Come and see the new look
Gallery and Shop – open now from 11.00am – 5.00pm from Friday to Sunday every
week. Alan Beales, its manager, has filled it with gifts, cards, an exhibition
of artists’ work on the theme of the sea front and pier. The gallery also
displays pictures explaining the work currently being done on the esplanade and
lots of information of the pier old and new. We are pleased to share the space
with Herne Bay in Bloom who also have an exhibition of their work. If you wish
to renew your membership, drop in for a chat, look at the pictures on sale or
deliver a letter to us, you will be made most welcome by Alan and his team of
volunteers without whom it would be very hard for the Trust to function.
Another volunteer, Colin Barker, is heading up our new events team. If you would
like to join either team, please pop into the gallery.

Junior News

In January, two of us spent a
delightful afternoon meeting the year 6 pupils at Herne Bay Junior School. The
children had, that morning, walked along to the pier and so our visual presentation
which was full of pictures and questions about the history of the piers fitted
usefully into their current local project.

During February, the pupils
spent time drawing their ideas for the future pier cleverly using computer
aided design software to remarkable effect. Some chose to construct models of
their design concepts. We now have an exhibition of their work running at the
Gallery and Shop in Central Parade. Come and have a look.

A Junior HBPT Club

Following our recent happy
interaction with both the primary schools and Herne Bay High, we would like to
start a Junior Pier Trust Club this spring. After all, continuing local pride
in Herne Bay and a willingness to carry on developing the pier plans when we
are finished will be in their hands in due course. We hope to involve the
younger generation in events, performance and generating ideas.

Wine and Wisdom

On March 22nd we held our
fourth Quiz Evening at the King’s Hall. As Peter was already booked, we were
lucky to have Gideon Scott and his team in charge of the evening. Thanks
Gideon. The food provided by the staff was also excellent. Thanks also to all
who donated prizes for the raffle which included a fruit basket from Peter’s
Produce, a cake from the Pantry, and an Egg basket from Mrs Cook. The auction
of wood craft including a unique garden chair made the evening an excellent
fundraising event for the Trust. 

The Pier Head

We have recently attempted to
rescue our lights and equipment from the pier head but the weather conditions
and rotting wood made this too difficult. However, another attempt will be made
as we would like to use the equipment along the leg. There are also suggestions
abroad that maybe the metal structure of the café can be rescued and
reconstructed on the shore at the entrance of the pier. 

The Long Pier – a shared vision for members and trustees

The responses we received
from nearly 90 members (not including ourselves) were full of ideas and strong
opinions about the future of the long pier and the returns made very
enlightening reading. They supported the Board’s reluctance to support siting a
marina at the end of the pier and only 2 of the members’ responses voted for
this option.

The letter from the marina
engineer which appeared in both local papers had clearly impressed readers with
its viewpoint and his expert experience. His opinion echoed the reservations
which Marina Projects, a marina company sub-contracted by Gifford in the 2011
Report, expressed when they recommended the Trust to look at alternative
options for the marina other than at the end of pier. The 2011 Draft Report
stated that a marina a mile out at sea was not the recommended option. While
fully supporting any other group wishing to work on a marina project, the Pier
Trust will confine itself to re-establishing a pier as a community asset for
all residents to enjoy. 

One of the previous trustees
has passed onto us the valuable work she had done on what makes a pier
successful – much appreciated as we are about to start researching and
contacting the most popular pier trusts in UK. Herne Bay Pier will need a
unique selling point to attract investment and bring in the visitors. Armed
with the information in the reports and having subsumed the rebuild objective
back into the Board, we shall be working hard this year bringing our existing
pier back to life.

We have a busy year ahead but
now the trustees and members have a shared vision.

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