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Well, it's all kicking off over at the Pier Trust - name-calling, playground threats, hair-pulling, you name it.

Once upon a time, the Herne Bay Pier Trust had a nice little Facebook site which people would saunter over to from time to time, to find out what was new, and add their words of wisdom and encouragement.

How times change.

Pier review

Well, it’s all kicking off over at the Pier Trust – name-calling, playground threats, hair-pulling, you name it.

Once upon a time, the Herne Bay Pier Trust had a nice little Facebook site which people would saunter over to from time to time, to find out what was new, and add their words of wisdom and encouragement.

How times change.

Reading between the lines as much as I dare, my guess is that our beloved Council has decided that the whole Pier Thing needs to be more tightly managed and controlled. Murmurs of unquiet, mutterings of discontent, and opinions that diverge from the Unquestionable Truth have all emerged in the local media recently, much to the annoyance of our Controllers.

The solution seems to have been to seek greater direct control, and to this end Cllr Cook (one of the nine or so Trustees, and one of the two councillors appointed by the Council) was annointed an Adminstrator on the Trust’s Facebook site. And that’s when things started to go awry.

Within the Herne Bay Pier Trust Facebook site, a new page was set up called, er, “Herne Bay Pier Trust”. Hardly confusing at all. This new page, let’s call it HBPT2, then started writing stuff, and replying and commenting, just as a real person would. One of the first messages gave a clear indication of what was to come:

“Facebook comunication is being Hi jacked by activists stick to being positive about the Pier please, and offer help dont just moan.”

HBPT2 then went on over the next few days to speak as if it had the knowledge, authority and support of the Trustees, indeed it spoke as if it was the Pier Trust. Those who questioned the Unquestionable Truth were dubbed snipers, gripers, downers, and (gasp!) “activists”. The identity of HBPT2 remains a closely guarded secret – HBPT2 has been asked to reveal itself, and has refused.

Anyway, it’s Cllr Cook. I don’t know if this was meant to be a light touch on the rudder to steer the Trust along the Council’s preferred course, but he’s managed to rile a lot of long-standing Pier supporters – do pop over to the Trust’s Facebook site and have a look at the swirling confusion and anger he’s left in his path.

So what’s next? The ex-Trustees who invested hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds’ worth of effort in the Trust will still be dismissed as grumbling malcontents. The Council will beam approvingly on those who toe the line unquestioningly. Criticism will be branded as negativism. Cheery, shallow words of encouragement will be plentiful – substantive commitment, support and promotion won’t.

A lot of people will work bloody hard to make the most of what little we’re being given to work with, and my heart swells with pride in anticipation of what we will probably achieve. But please don’t forget – if our Council had shown the same commitment to Herne Bay as it has shown to Canterbury over the last five years, we would have our Pier by now.

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  1. Adrian bennett

    The day the Council appointed Trustees are eliminated is the day the trust will move forward. It will be the day I sign up to become a member but with people like Andrew Cook on the trust my money will stay in my pocket. He has show his worth this last week, bullying and intimidation and his disgraceful antics have a very negative impact on how the people of herne bay view the trust.

  2. I am going to put my pennies worth in here. Trustees should not be put in the position where they feel they have no alternative but to resign. They are still clearly all so passionate about the Pier and quite frankly in my opinion both the Trust and CCC should be acknowledging the fact that there is political interference that is severely hindering the progress of the Pier, both the "Regenerate" and the "Rebuild". It is fact, that the Council have been obstructive and appointed Councillors follow the Party political agenda, believe me I have firsthand knowledge of it. We have lost so many invaluable Trustees and ALL, that I am aware of, have left directly because of political interference and Council obstruction. The first which was widely publicised in local media was the Co-founder Pete Revell – just months after the Trust was set up and so many, too many, have followed. It is so wrong that this has been kept hushed up and I say a big thank you to those Trustees who have spoken up, it has been extremely frustrating for me and a number of other loyal members to watch. If the situation is not addressed very quickly by the Council and the aspect of Council appointed Trustees eliminated and a truly independent Trust panel put in place, then I can say with a high degree of certainty that you will see a rapid fall in membership and even less support from non members who all give so much time to the Trust, who have so far held all the elected Trustees, past and present in such high esteem.I would go further and ask past Trustees to consider going back on the board, you are most wanted, much needed, without your vast expertise, I really dont think the existing Trust can achieve the goals and objectives of a full Pier rebuild or in the short term a successful Pier platform 2012 short term use. If we do not pull together and start demanding the Councils attention and commitment I fear we are to be the laughing stock this June.

  3. Geoff Wimble

    IT WOULD APPEAR ANYBODY INTERESTED IN HERNE BAY PIER SHOULD BE VERY CONCERNED ESPECIALLY AS CCC. HAVE OPENLY ADVERTISED FOR BUSINESSES TO TAKE CONCESSIONS. If this is not a deliberate attempt to demoralize may I apologise but others can view and determine whether this is so. It appears that talk of an AGM sent all those public servants at CCC into some sort of flat spin on what to do next so… countless meetings later among officers and unofficial statements to the effect that the pier trust are penniless and rudderless leave yawning gaps as to why they had to have the Err. questionable expertise of anointed trustees… bringing into question the ability of the whole membership which countless thousands do almost daily… BEWARE CONTROL FREAKISM HAS TAKEN ON YET ANOTHER DAMAGING TURN IN THE DEBACLE OF THE PIER AND HERNE BAY REGENERATION THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GARDENS AND PUBLIC LAND AROUND THE PIER MAY BE CLOSER THAN ANYBODY COULD HAVE IMAGINED !

  4. Geoff Wimble

    Another questionable activity why would the present owners of Mackaris and the bandstand information center, where we apparently allowed a long rent free period and free electricity, no satisfactory answers from CCC., have now purchased property on Herne Bay Sea-front earmarked for demolition, ?????