At last signs of real progress are beginning to happen on the pier. A column supporting Hastings Pier has been replaced, marking the very first stage of the restoration of Hastings Pier. During the past five years one column broke at a point below the beach level and collapsed. Because of its location this is a critical column and its replacement was essential-

Controlled by the tides, the work had to be carried out before dawn during the month, when we had very low water, ensuring that work was stopped in time to get the plant and equipment away before the incoming sea cut off the access-

Local specialist, South Coast Structures, carried out the work which involved erecting the steel column (which is nearly six metres in height), bolting to the underside of the main trusses and clamping to the remains of the pile. This pile will have been one of the original screw piles installed by Eugenius Birch in 1869. It was then necessary to concrete around the base of the column with a steel casing around it to form the abrasion protection. This column should now last for at least 50 years. There are two more columns near the promenade to replace which will be completed before the start of the main steelworks in January.

Taking advantage of the same low tide, we also had the local soil investigation company, In Situ Site Investigation, carry out testing to help establish the ground conditions for where we have to install foundations for the new Visitor Centre. After so much work and planning, it is extremely pleasing to see the work of restoring Hastings Pier actually getting underway. It is also most rewarding that local contractors are being used wherever it is possible. Work starts in earnest in January, and will provide an ongoing daily spectacle for all those who traverse the promenade. The two main contracts for restoring the steelwork for everything up to the pier head have now been let, so work will soon commence in this part of the structure. Ultimately costs were reduced by combining these contracts, so they’ve actually come in well within budget. Demolition of the ballroom now won’t commence until next autumn, but will now be part of the last phase: restoring the pier head. Conversion works to prepare the upper part of White Rock Baths are almost complete, although the Pier Trust won’t be able to move in until January. This is partly because their final activity plan has yet to be approved by HLF, which to say the least involves some significant level of detail.

From the February 2014

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