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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 15:32 GMT
West Pier 'most important in world'
The West Pier
The report into the future of the pier is to be published next month
The beleaguered West Pier in Brighton has been called 'the most important pier in the world' in a crucial report into its future.

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.

Lengthy fight

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.

West Pier fire, 28 March 2003
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.

Pier fires spark review of restoration
15 May 03  |  Southern Counties
Pier fire flares up again
12 May 03  |  Southern Counties
'No evidence' pier fire was arson
06 May 03  |  Southern Counties
Flare link to West Pier fire
03 Apr 03  |  England
West Pier destroyed by fire
28 Mar 03  |  England
In pictures: West Pier fire
28 Mar 03  |  Photo Gallery
Pier restoration plans approved
26 Feb 03  |  England
Pier re-opens after fire
05 Feb 03  |  England


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