Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has collated an updated list of FAQs in the wake of the pier blaze.
He said, “Many people have contacted me with regards to our beloved pier. There are a number of questions which are circulating and I thought it would be useful to provide some clarity.
“I have spoken to the council, emergency services and the Chamber of Commerce and below are the responses to some of the most frequently asked questions.
“Please bear with us, as this situation does develop very quickly. Rest assured, we will do all we can to keep you as up to date as possible.”
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1. Who owns the Pier?
Cuerden Leisure are the owners of Eastbourne pier.
2. Were the Pier owners insured?
Cuerden Leisure has informed us that the pier is fully insured. Therefore, it is anticipated that this will pay for the re-construction once all the work has been completed by the structural engineers and the insurance loss adjustors.
3. How long is the police investigation likely to take?
Police have received a large number of calls in connection with their hunt for the suspected arsonist, and they are grateful for the public support. The police investigation is likely to take a number of weeks but the pier has now been handed back to Cuerden Leisure. Ongoing security around the affected area to prevent any danger to the public will be managed by Cuerden Leisure.
The police have asked that anyone with photos or videos taken by the pier immediately before the fire is sent to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Barsham or phone 101.
4. How long will it take before we know the full extent of the damage of the pier?
Structural engineers have carried out a detailed examination of the damage and are due to report back to Cuerden within the next two weeks.
Those Affected by the Pier:
5. What about the independent traders?
Eastbourne Borough Council has allocated spaces for pier shop owners (concessions) at Airbourne, which runs from Thursday August 14 –Sunday August 17. There is a separate update on this on elsewhere on the website.
In the longer term, we are setting up eight durable conservatories for them. Building work starts on August 18th and they should be handed over to the retailers on Wednesday August 20. They will be built opposite the Burlington Hotel, next to the Carpet Gardens.
Cuerden and its insurers have agreed to waive the rent of independent traders from the date of the fire to the end of the season. They have also agreed to offer existing traders a discount on their rents for 2015/16.
6. What about those who have lost their job on the pier?
All pier staff have been offered assistance to find new jobs. The vast majority of pier staff have found alternative employment, and the shop owners have been offered alternative sites to continue trading (see above).
7. What about those who have a pre-booked event on the pier?
In the first instance, Cuerden Leisure should be in contact with you direct. The council and Hospitality Association have offered to assist in finding alternative venues. We are all doing our best to ensure that no events are cancelled as Eastbourne rallies round.
Pier Benevolent Fund:
8. Who can benefit from the fund?
3VA and partner organisations are putting in place arrangements for applications to the fund. The fund has set up a panel of experts to oversee the distribution of grants. They are now (Thursday August 21) inviting individuals who were employed by the Pier when the fire broke out, and concessionaires and their employees, to apply for assistance.
The trustees will contact everybody affected. However, if you do not receive an approach, please contact 3VA on 639373.
In addition to more than £4k raised from generous Eastbourne residents and businesses, Eastbourne Borough Council has allocated £50,000 from the Government’s £2m grant to the fund.
9. How can I/we raise money for the Eastbourne Pier Benevolent Fund?
For all options on how to donate – visit www.eastbourneunltd.co.uk or call them on 01323 641 144. Cheques can be sent to their offices at The Chamber Office, 7 Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne, BN21 4PN and made payable to “Eastbourne Pier Benevolent Fund”.
10. Can I Contribute to the Benevolent Fund Online?
Yes – please see the Chamber website. www.east bourneunltd.co.uk
11. When will the £2m pledged by the government arrive and what’s it being spent on?
At a meeting chaired by Stephen Lloyd MP, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of Exchequer gave an undertaking that it would arrive as soon as possible. It was confirmed at the meeting that Eastbourne Borough Council would be managing the £2million fund. It is to be spent partly on assisting those people who have lost their jobs and livelihoods because of the fire and all funds required for this purpose will be passed onto the Pier Benevolent Fund. It will also be spent on marketing Eastbourne as being a town that is still very much ‘open for business’.
The council has been given the responsibility of running the fund. They will be liaising with the key stakeholders to ensure the money is spent as effectively as possible.
12. Why can’t the £2m be spent on retaining core services at the DGH?
There have been a lot of comments online with regards to this which is perfectly understandable! Yet, they are two separate matters. The removal of consultant-led maternity and paediatric services from the DGH was one that the vast majority of us in Eastbourne and surrounding area did not agree with. However, it would neither be legal or appropriate for this money to be spent on the DGH which is funded directly by the National Health Service. Please rest assured, the cross-community Save the DGH campaign team continues to fight for our local hospital.
Rebuilding the Pier:
13. Will the Blue Room be rebuilt as it was, or something more modern put in its place?
The pier is a Grade ll* listed structure which brings some restrictions. The owners will work with the council and English Heritage to design a fantastic replacement.
14. How long before we can use the Pier again?
We are all determined to get the whole pier up and running as soon as possible. However, as two thirds of the pier remain untouched, the committee is also in discussion with the owners and the safety experts to see if there may be a way for visitors to access the remaining structure. This is a work in progress and we will keep you informed.
The initial report is that the damage to the pier is not as substantial as first feared and the owners are hopeful that it will be partly reopened in the final quarter of 2014.
The pier has installed a time-lapse camera to record the re-building work as it proceeds.
Eastbourne is Open for Business
15. How best can I support the Pier?
By being supportive of what we are all trying to do. Remind everyone that Eastbourne is a tremendous place to visit and that we are well and truly open for business. Turn a tragedy into something good by showing the world that in Eastbourne - we all pull together!
Over the coming weeks as it becomes clearer to the future progress of the rebuilding of our pier, every effort will be made to keep local residents informed. However, we are establishing a dedicated enquiry line for anyone who has questions with regards to the pier. They will be able to assist in answering your calls. This is currently being set up and once it is live, we will update the FAQs.
Additionally, Eastbourne Borough Council will be establishing a website to keep residents informed of all developments. Offers of help can also be emailed to the council at who will be maintaining all details.