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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 11:27 GMT
'Tacky' pier 'should not be rebuilt'
Brighton's West Pier
It will cost 30 million to restore the West Pier
A leading architect has said plans to rebuild Brighton's West Pier should be scrapped in favour of a new structure.

The Grade I listed pier, which has been unused since 1975, suffered heavy damage on Sunday when a section of the structure collapsed into the sea.

The owners, the West Pier Trust, announced a planned 30m restoration would still go ahead.

However, the president-elect of the Royal Institute of British Architects, George Ferguson, says piers are tacky and should be consigned to the history books.

Brighton's West Pier in 1938
It is the only Grade I listed pier in Britain
Mr Ferguson told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: "Piers were built for promenading and we don't promenade today.

"The piers that are left have become very tacky experiences, so we should be thinking what we want piers for.

"Maybe we should have a competition which competes with the idea of restoring the pier so one doesn't dismiss the pier, but we've got here an opportunity to harness the power of British architecture."

Open in new window : In pictures
Brighton pier collapse

Rachel Clark, general manager of the Brighton West Pier Trust, defended the restoration scheme.

She said: "We certainly aren't restoring it for purely nostalgic reasons, although it will look as it did in its heyday of the early 1920s.

"It will serve the needs of the public at leisure in the 21st Century and it certainly won't be tacky."

Councillors in Brighton will debate the restoration plans in the new year.


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Talking Point: Britain's piersBritain's piers
Are they tacky relics or worth saving?

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30 Dec 02 | England
29 Dec 02 | England
31 May 00 | UK
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