With summer having disappeared over the horizon, autumn has arrived with all the changes that go with it. There are however always positives to be found, this is a lovely time of the year, so it seems like a good moment to provide you all with an update on what has been happening over the last couple of months and where we are heading with the project.
Some of you are probably aware that I enjoy sailing. Before any sailing trip I make a plan and I always have contingency plans, the weather often impacts and I have to change course. I often have to detour or break the passage into smaller legs, sometimes I seem to be sailing in completely the wrong direction! I have however learned not to panic. I always keep in my mind the main objective and where I want to end up.
In many ways we are on our own journey with Hythe Pier Heritage Association and we have already had to adjust our plans and make some changes to the route we thought we might take. The reality is that this is a big undertaking and we are still at the beginning of the project. We have agreed our primary objectives, we know where we want to end up and we know that we can bring real benefit to the community and the wider public.
We are seeking to do something quite different. The Hythe Pier has been owned and operated by a private commercial company throughout its long history. Our proposals will make the community a stakeholder in the pier with the new community business we have formed operating a restored and redeveloped pier with new facilities and amenities for public benefit. All this done working together with the current ferry operator to create a new sustainable future.
We have been working hard to develop our organisation over the summer, we are building a robust IT system and working to improve how we communicate and share information so watch out for the new web site which will be on line soon.
We have also welcomed three groups of architects to the pier to discuss our plans. They have now provided their fee bids to undertake the next stage of design development which involves a detailed feasibility report on the restoration and options for the redevelopment. This will help to inform our business plan that we need to complete over the coming months.
Sadly one of our board members resigned over the summer so we will be seeking to bring our management team up to full strength during the next month ready for the next exciting phase of this project.
Most importantly we are working through the terms and conditions of the legal agreements that we need to put in place with Blue Funnel before we can make a real start to the work that we all know is needed to protect and preserve the pier. The details of the proposed transfer of ownership that was announced earlier this year have proved difficult to finalise. I am only too well aware that some of you may be a little uncertain, even frustrated that this is all taking longer than necessary. Don’t panic, be patient and keep the main objectives in mind. With goodwill and commitment from both parties and with your support we will find a means by which we can progress.
Finally don’t forget to put a date in your diary for next Saturday October 12th when we will open the pier for our Heritage Day. We have a great event planned for you including our pop-up café in the waiting room offering teas, coffee and cakes all provided by our fantastic volunteers, the railway workshop will be open for those railway enthusiasts to get up close to the railway carriages and we will be naming one of those famous tractor units that really are the heartbeat of Hythe . We will have a raffle, tombola and entertainment at the entrance from the New Forest Brass Band, Good Night Sweethearts and Wire JD of Rock the Pier fame. We also have a heritage trail along the pier highlighting life through the decades and the heritage and history of the pier train and ferry.
We will hope the weather is kind to us and look forward to seeing you there.
This is your project and on behalf of the whole Management Board of Hythe Pier Heritage Association I want to thank you for your continued support.