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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 19:11 GMT
West Pier could still be restored
The pier on fire
The Heritage Lottery Fund had been asked for about 19m
Boxer Chris Eubank has vowed to help prevent Brighton's derelict West Pier from being demolished.

The pier looked doomed on Wednesday when Heritage Lottery Fund announced it was withdrawing funding.

But English Heritage has said it could still be possible to restore the pier solely as a promenade deck and has pledged to help find new backers.

A group involving Mr Eubank has said it could restore the pier cheaply and quickly, starting work this year.

We cannot turn our backs on this internationally famous Grade I listed building
English Heritage chief executive Dr Simon Thurley
The pier closed in 1975 and the structure was reduced to a metal skeleton last year by storms and two fires, in March and May.

English Heritage gave its approval for the pier's multi-million pound refurbishment as recently as December, but those plans were thrown into question on Wednesday when lottery funding worth up to 19m was withdrawn.

The pier owners had asked for additional funding after it was damaged last year and the Heritage Lottery Fund said there was no guarantee costs would not rise again.

But on Friday English Heritage chief executive Dr Simon Thurley said: "We cannot turn our backs on this internationally famous Grade I listed building.

"Our report of December 2003 concluded that, in conservation terms, it is still possible to save the pier.

Chris Eubank
Chris Eubank lives near the West Pier, in Hove
"While there is still hope we want to explore every viable option to restore the pier.

"At this stage we believe a return to the 1866 design for a promenade deck would be the most likely to succeed."

Former world super middleweight champion Mr Eubank lives near the pier in Hove and has been linked with its restoration in the past.

He is involved with the Eugenius group, named after architect Eugenius Birch, who built the pier in 1866.

A spokesman for the group said the consortium could start rebuilding the pier before the end of the year and said it could possibly be done within the financial constraints thought to be practical before extra lottery funding was asked for.

Geoff Lockwood, chairman of the West Pier Trust which owns the pier, said the promenade deck option suggested by English Heritage would only be considered if the original plans failed.




SEE ALSO:
Derelict pier loses lottery money
28 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
West Pier revamp approved
19 Dec 03  |  Southern Counties
West Pier 'most important in world'
04 Nov 03  |  Southern Counties
Pier: past, present, future?
12 Jun 03  |  Photo Gallery


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