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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 January, 2004, 15:41 GMT
West Pier 'back from the dead'
The collapsed pier
The West Pier had already been damaged by storms last winter
English Heritage's claim it wants to save Brighton's West Pier has been welcomed by the council as "a miracle".

The pier looked doomed on Wednesday when the Heritage Lottery Fund said it would not be providing 19m in funding.

But council leader Ken Bodfish said the news English Heritage still wanted to help could help prevent the loss of "a dear friend".

"We said that short of a miracle it was all over and here is the miracle. The pier is back from the dead," he said.

Fresh proposals

"It really had hit home with everyone what we stood to lose," he added.

"I am sure most of Brighton and Hove will now share my absolute elation."

An announcement by English Heritage on Friday from chief executive Simon Thurley said: "We cannot turn our backs on this internationally-famous Grade I listed building."

The pier on fire
The Heritage Lottery Fund had been asked for about 19m

He said a report made in December 2003 had shown it was still possible to save the pier, which was hit by storms and two fires last year.

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

The West Pier was designed by Eugenius Birch and was completed in 1866 as a promenading pier - it is one of two Grade I listed piers in the country.

English Heritage has set a target of September 2004 to put in place fresh proposals and a new funding package.

Dr Thurley said: "It is more than just a tourist attraction.

"It is an enduring symbol of Brighton.

"We all know it, whether as the spectacular backdrop to broadcasts from innumerable party conferences, or as the setting for a first seaside holiday or even a first kiss."




SEE ALSO:
West Pier could still be restored
30 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
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


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