Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 10:22 UK

Fire-hit pier restoration begins

The fire at Southend Pier
The fire partially destroyed the pier, which opened in 1889

Work has begun to restore a pier in Essex three years after it was partially destroyed by a fire.

A pub, gift shop and takeaway on Southend Pier were destroyed in the October 2005 blaze.

Despite the fire, the pier has remained open and a temporary visitor deck area allows access to the undamaged section of the pier, which opened in 1889.

The 2.25m restoration work should be finished by next April and is being funded by the insurers.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Councillor John Lamb said: "The council has pledged its commitment to seeing the town's icon reinstated as soon as possible.

"It is absolutely wonderful news that vital restoration works can now begin, enabling us to bring back to life this much loved attraction."

At 1.34 miles (2.16km), Southend Pier is one of the longest pleasure piers in the world.


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