An ambitious plan to take over Eastbourne Pier and turn it in to a community museum and rebuild the Blue Room has been revealed.
Also in the pipleline is bringing the Allchorn Pleasure Boats back in to action and holding water sports events such as surfing and conferences on ocean pollution.
Cleaner Oceans Club Ltd is in talks with the pier’s current owners about taking on the liability of the seafront landmark as a not for profit concern.
The company says it wants to restore the pier to its former glory with the help of lottery funding and is looking for partners or other organisations to join forces in the project.
Eastbourne Pier is currently owned by Cuerden Leisure and is up for sale after a fall out with council planners who turned down Cuerden’s plans for fairground rides on the site of the Blue Room, destroyed by fire in July last year.
Frustrated at the council’s decision, Cuerden Leisure said it was evaluating its options earlier in the summer.
Terry Valeriano from Cleaner Oceans Club Ltd said this week the company was interested in the pier becoming “a focal community point”.
“We have been prompted to consider taking what is quite a large leap into the heritage world, because we understand that nobody as yet is looking at a rescue package that involves repairing the old music pavilion known locally as the Blue Room,” said Mr Valeriano.
“We have been speaking to Historic England and subsequently the Heritage Lottery Fund. We filed a pre-application enquiry form yesterday, hence know that funds are available up to £5 million for such projects. But, we would have to match fund to the tune of 10 per cent
“The pier is a grade II* listed building that is at present on the Monuments At Risk register, because it seems, there is no legal obligation for the owners to repair the Blue Room.
“We would only get involved on the basis of restoring what is a focal point for Eastbourne and vital for tourism - hence, the local economy.
“It would suit us to change the use of the pier aiming for more community involvement. We’d rather it was a museum open to the public on a free basis with a maritime exhibition being a full time attraction.
“That would of course involve charitable donations and we are looking for partners or other organisations which might offer financial contributions is exchange for major billing, or even help from the public in exchange for a mention on our website, with certificates depending on their generosity.”
Cleaner Oceans Club Ltd is the organiser of the Miss Ocean 2016 water sports pageant, an ocean awareness initiative.
Mr Valeriano said, “This will involve swimming, rowing and maybe even surfing events that could involve the pier. We also plan to run conferences on ocean pollution. We feel this sort of rescue package will benefit Eastbourne far more than anything we have seen or heard to date.
“As a second and third stage, we’d also like to see the Allchorn boats running again.”
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