A proposal to rescue Eastbourne's pier with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund



Brighton's west pier was destroyed by fire leaving this rusting hulk


BRIGHTON WEST PIER - The West Pier was a magnificent pier in Brighton, England. As with Eastbourne's pier, it was designed by Eugenius Birch, opening in 1866 and closing in 1975. The pier was the first to be Grade I listed in Britain but became increasingly derelict after closure. Listing is therefore no security, but almost a death sentence in some circumstances due to the increase in costs in planning terms.


The pier was constructed during a boom period in pleasure pier building in the 1860s, and was designed to attract tourists to Brighton. It was the town's second pier, joining the Royal Suspension Chain Pier of 1823. It was extended in 1893, and a concert hall was added in 1916. The pier reached its peak attendance during this time, with 2 million visitors between 1918 and 1919. Its popularity began to decline after World War II, and concerts were replaced by a funfair and tearoom. A local company took ownership in 1965, but could not meet the increased maintenance cost, and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. They could not find a suitable buyer, so the pier closed in 1975 and subsequently fell into disrepair. Eastbourne pier could suffer the same fate, simply because the demand for seaside attractions is all but dead. Most visitors to south coast piers are retired couples looking for a bun and a cup of tea. List Entry Number: 1381655





A compulsory purchase order might have saved what was one of the finest piers in the world. Inaction on the part of Brighton & Hove City Council is therefore partly to blame for the loss of a Grade I listed structure. All too often councils neglect their duty to protect the historic built environment. In the case of the Palace pier, a temporary permission for a fun fair has lapsed into some kind of permanence with the loss of a theatre. How that situation has come about is a mystery.





A £30m scheme to restore Brighton's derelict and storm-damaged West Pier has been approved.

Despite opposition, councillors granted planning permission for the proposals drawn up by owners, the West Pier Trust.

Nine of the 12 members of Brighton and Hove City Council's planning committee backed the plans, with two voting against and one abstention.

But campaigners opposed to the design of the plans have vowed to fight for a public inquiry.

The pier has been closed to the public since 1975 and has been the subject of various development plans since then.


But none have gone ahead and on 30 December a walkway and a large section of the ballroom collapsed into the Channel after being battered by storms.

More bad weather caused further damage on 20 January, prompting the owners to say quick action after the first collapse could have prevented the further damage. 

Geoff Lockwood, chairman of the West Pier Trust, said: "Today's positive decision does not guarantee the restoration of the West Pier. There are still hurdles to overcome.

"But what is important is that a negative decision today would have sealed the fate of the West Pier."

Many of the protesters say they are in favour of the pier being restored to its former glory, but not in the design proposed by the West Pier Trust.

They say the planned development of cafes and bars at the promenade end of the Grade I listed pier would obstruct views of the sea.

Fifteen conservation groups from the Brighton and Hove area made formal objections to the plans.

Among them was the Regency Square Area Society, for whom spokeswoman Sue Paskins told the meeting: "This will be utterly devastating for generations to come.

"We don't want this, the city does not want this.

"We want the West Pier to be restored but not at this cost."

But Sir Anthony Glossop of developers St Modwens told councillors: "If you do not accept our scheme you will be left with nothing. You can save the West Pier or consign it to oblivion."

As part of the plans the pier will be raised to cope with expected sea level rises due to global warming.

It is estimated it will cost more than £22m to restore the structure and £8m to build the new development. 




HLF Press Office: Katie Owen on 020 7591 6036 / 07973 613 820.


Terry at Eastbourne pier in September 2015


EASTBOURNE PIER 2015 - Is a monument at risk. Terry is seen here on a site visit to check the condition of the underlying structure. What he found was not encouraging. There is a lot of work to do to bring this important coastal attraction back into a condition to be proud of.


The business plan includes developing a marine/natural history display that will make this structure the place to visit on the south coast of England. We are not at liberty to disclose the details of such proposals lest imitators poach the creative lead of the Cleaner Oceans Club.









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