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Pier Trust Rebuild Group put their case

Graham Cooper (formerly an HBPT Trustee, currently part of the Rebuild Group) posted this on the “official” Pier Trust Facebook site:

Dear All,

Many of you will have no doubt seen the reports in the papers this week. Sadly the rebuild group were not asked for any comment or given the opportunity to repond by the Times. Here is a copy of a letter we sent to the Gazette, when they did ask us for comment.

The volunteers on the rebuild group are shocked to discover that the Trustees had already decided as early as February 2012 that their preferred option was a gradual rebuild and not the pier/marina proposal. Neither we nor the membership have been informed of this, even at the November AGM. We are also very disappointed at the rather sensationalist headlines in last week’s HB Times and more recently the rather confused and unclear letter sent to pier trust members this week, both of which state a number of assumptions and figures which are taken out of context and both of which conveniently leave out the projected £18million injection into the local economy that would result from the pier/marina.

We have offered on a number of occasions to respond to any trustees queries in order to clarify what the report is saying. The Trustees have had the report since last November! However before we had a chance to respond to the concerns expressed by the Chair of the Trust, she has informed us that she will not communicate any further with us until she has sent a letter to members and presumably got their feed- back.

We are very concerned that last week’s story and the Trust Chair’s recent letter to members are giving a very one sided view of things and as a we are effectively unable to communicate our response to members in any other way, in the next week or so we will be publishing an open letter, providing a fuller response to concerns raised.

But for now, it is important to convey a few key messages to members and the public alike. Firstly, the Collier report is intended to offer a workable solution for a rebuilt pier and to demonstrate business viability. It is designed as a conceptual report and certainly not definitive in any particular detail. The report does offer an excellent insight into what is feasible and we should remember that Collier are one of the top three property and destinations experts in the world, that is why we hired them.

Secondly, we are puzzled as to the motive and timing behind these recent stories and the Chair’s letter to members and refusal to communicate further with the rebuild team. This all certainly flies in the face of Doreen Stone’s comments of the Trust’s Facebook page last November:

“the Trust’s Board is more stable at this time than it has been for a long time with ex-trustees and current trustees working together on options for the future of the pier. Two weeks ago we had a very friendly and useful meeting with John Gilbey, Leader of Canterbury City Council, who remarked on the unity of our team. There is a great deal of hard work and cooperation going on at present”.

As far as we can see the only thing that has changed since last November is the excellent publicity and supporters that the pier/marina idea has attracted, why this should present the Trust with a problem we fail to understand.

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