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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 16:57 GMT
Pier restoration plans approved
The collapsed West Pier
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.

'Hurdles to overcome'

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.

This will be utterly devastating for generations to come
Protester Sue Paskins

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.

The West Pier in 1938
The pier could be restored to its 1930s heyday

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.

Battered pier will be restored
30 Dec 02 |  England
Brighton's West Pier collapses
29 Dec 02 |  England

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