The owners of fire-ravaged Hastings Pier in East Sussex were given a "last chance" by council bosses today to start repair work or risk it being taken out of their control.
The grade II-listed pier has stood as a burnt-out eyesore since it was almost completely destroyed in an arson attack in October last year.
Nothing has been done by its absent Panama-registered owners Ravenclaw Investments to restore the Victorian structure, which was once proclaimed "the peerless pier."
Hastings Borough Council has fought a long-running battle to force the offshore owners to kick-start repair work.
This week a repairs notice was tied to the pier's gates and the council sent Ravenclaw notices calling on it to begin repairs within two months or face a compulsory purchase order.
If granted, the pier would be handed over to the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust, which aims to refurbish the pier using money secured through grants.
Hastings regeneration councillor Peter Chowney said: "This is the sort of Christmas present the owners deserve.
"They have made no effort whatsoever to repair the pier and now they risk forfeiting it altogether. This is their last chance."
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