Plans to revive Fleetwood Pier are being inspired by a scheme in Hastings where residents are buying shares in their local pier.
George Greenall, director of Fleetwood Plus Community Interest Company, is leading the “People’s Pier” campaign to build a new community facility on the site of the old pier.
Although Fleetwood Plus itself would not be able to go down the Hastings route because its constitution would not allow for the buying of shares, a new steering group could make that possible.
In October 2010, Hastings Pier suffered a devastating fire that destroyed 95% of its superstructure.
However, there was a successful £11m Heritage Lottery bid and the Hastings Pier Charity share scheme has also raised an additional £500,000 after residents snapped up shares.
Mr Greenall, project manager of the Fleetwood People’s Pier scheme, told the Weekly News: “The Hasting People’s Pier scheme has been a real inspiration to us.
“What’s good about it is the way the community there have got together to help pay for the work. If we set up a steering group, there is no reason why we could not set up a shares scheme, if that’s what people in Fleetwood would want. It is an option. I will be paying a visit to Hastings to see what things we can learn from them.”
An e-petition has also been set up in a direct plea to David Cameron to end what many people believe is a north/south divide after another pier, at Eastbourne, was hit by fire recently. Within weeks of the disaster, which destroyed a third of the pier, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the Government would hand out £2m to restore it to its former glory.
While Fleetwood Pier did not have the high-profile elegance of the south coast structure, Mr Greenall says such support often seems to go to southern-based schemes.
He said: “When the Eastbourne Pier had a fire, the Prime Minister immediately supported plans to offer £2m in support of the re-build.
“That never happened when Fleetwood pier burned down in 2008.
“Obviously we have no pier left, but any support we can get from the Government would be welcome.
“We need our voice to be heard.”
The plans to revive Fleetwood Pier entail Mr Greenall and Fleetwood Plus colleagues liaising with Mike Simmons, who bought the pier for £500,000 before it burnt down, and who still has a long term lease on the site.
Mr Greenall wants Fleetwood Plus to take over the lease from Mr Simmons, and also raise £800,0000 which would pay off what Mr Simmons lost, and cover legal and architect fees.
Firstly, Fleetwood Plus must find a third of that – £300,000, to secure the site before any rival groups get there first.
A series of fund-raisers is being planned, including ambitious proposals to stage a Lytham Proms-type event in Fleetwood’s Memorial Park next summer.
Another public meeting is to be held at the North Euston Hotel on Monday September 22, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, for further discussions.
Anyone interested in signing the petition should visit: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/david-cameron-help-us-financially-to-secure-and-develop-the-old-fleetwood-pier-site#