The beleaguered West Pier in Brighton has been called 'the most important pier in the world' in a crucial report into its future.
The report into the future of the pier is to be published next month
English Heritage has been carrying out a review into whether the Grade II listed pier can be restored.
The conservation watchdog announced it would be urgently reviewing the pier's future after two fires gutted the former tourist attraction.
The final report is due to be published in a month's time and although English Heritage will not be drawn on its decision, the BBC has learned the watchdog has called the West Pier the most important pier in the world.
Dr Andy Brown from English Heritage said in his heart he felt the pier should be restored.
He said: "It is so important it simply must be.
"My head says there is still a lot of debate, a lot of argument to happen between now and then."
Storms in January had already badly damaged the pier and seen parts of it collapse into the sea.
The cause of the fires on the West Pier may never be known
Fire then first ripped through the derelict pier at the end of March which stripped much of the structure down to its metal skeleton.
A second fire then hit the pier in May.
Both fires are believed to have been started deliberately.
It is thought the outcome of the review could affect whether the pier's owners get £14m worth of lottery money vital to the rebuilding plans.
But owners the West Pier Trust say they are still confident English Heritage will back them and work will go ahead.
In February the trust was given planning permission to start work to restore the pier after a lengthy fight which had seen their plans opposed by people living nearby and the owners of the nearby Brighton (Palace) Pier.