EASTBOURNE Pier has cut back its opening hours in a bid to save cash during the difficult winter months.
The 1,000 feet long attraction, which has been a hugely popular attraction since it first opened its doors back on June 13, 1870, will now shut at 6pm instead of 9pm.
Traditionally the pier has remained open to the public into the evening, despite the fact the majority of businesses closed earlier.
However, management at the firm which runs the iconic structure confirmed steps were being taken to cut its cloth.
Nobody at the company wanted to be quoted directly, but said that it no longer made sense to keep the entire pier open every night.
The exception to the new opening times are Wednesday and Saturday nights, when the 870-capacity Atlantis nightclub regularly attracts sell-out crowds until 4am.
In fact, the pier’s management said the attractions’s financial security was due in no small part to the weekly cash boost provided by the club – which is also hired out four of five nights a week by language schools throughout the summer months.
An estimated 1.1million people a year visit Eastbourne Pier, which was designed by the world famous marine architect Eugenius Birch, who also built piers in nearby Hastings and Brighton.
The change in opening times is already under way, and Six Piers Limited, which runs the pier, said it had been inundated with calls from locals keen to find out why gates were locked in the early evening.
A spokesman added that ideally the arcade could be kept open but that health and safety laws prevented Six Piers from just roping off a section of the attraction at night. The overall cost of keeping the full length open and staffed could not be justified.
They also revealed that the pier had become a target for vandalism in recent years during the darker winter nights.