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Wednesday, March 25, 1998 Published at 10:57 GMT


New life for pier of the realm
image: [ The resort's other pier remains a tourist draw ]
The resort's other pier remains a tourist draw

BBC reporter Tom Feilden reports from Brighton pier (2'18)
Brighton's derelict West Pier is to be restored to its former glory with the help of more than £10m of National Lottery cash.

It is one of two piers on the sea front at the resort town in Sussex, and the only Grade I listed pier in Britain.

Stopping the rot

While Brighton's Palace Pier remains a tourist attraction, its cousin to the west has been closed to the public since 1975 because of fears it might fall down.

[ image: Lost splendour]
Lost splendour
Over the years the West Pier's disintegration has been speeded up by the battering of stormy weather.

Work will begin this summer on a £35m revamp, which will see it born again as a leisure complex featuring restaurants, shops, a health spa and museum. The pier's Victorian concert hall will be restored.

[ image:  ]
The lottery grant of £10.65m will go towards restoring the substructure of the pier, built in 1863.

Joint venture

The rest of the cash is being put up by restaurateur Oliver Peyton's Gruppo company, London and Regional Properties and Brighton and Hove Council.

The pier is expected to be accessible to the public once again in time for the millennium.

However, the restoration will not be fully complete until the end of 2001.

Protecting the past

The grant for the pier is among £21m of awards to 74 different heritage projects announced on Wednesday.

The other funding packages include a £10,875 grant to buy a special teapot from the Swinton Pottery, South Yorkshire.

The teapot, made in 1773, is the only one existing made of early Swinton creamware. It will join a collection at Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham.

A £30,450 award will be used to preserve a windswept heath, the site of a pre-historic burial chamber and hill fort, as a nature reserve.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has bought the 54-acre site on West Penwith Moors near Penzance, Cornwall, in an area littered with ancient remains. Chun Downs includes a Stone Age burial chamber and the ruined Chun Castle.

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