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Last Updated: Friday, 28 March 2008, 14:32 GMT

Historic pier section demolished

Bognor Pier
The pier is now estimated to be around a third of its original length

Part of a historic pier in West Sussex has been demolished on safety grounds.

A 60ft (18m) section of the Grade II listed pier in Bognor Regis, which was originally built in 1865, was knocked down by its owners on Thursday.

The affected part of the pier had been replaced after World War II but deteriorated significantly.

The structure was originally 1,000ft (300m) long, but has suffered a series of fires and floods. It is home to the Bognor Birdman contest.

Angie Edlin, spokesperson for Bognor Pier Leisure, said: "The demolition had to be done as quickly as possible for public safety.

"If we could have avoided it we would have."

'End deterioration'

In 1969 the end of the pier was damaged by storms, and in 1999 a 90ft (27m) section was washed into the sea.

The pier is now estimated to be about a third of its original length.

Councillor Paul Wells, from Bognor Regis Town Council, said he believed more needs to be done to preserve the pier.

"This is a focal point along Bognor Regis seafront," he said. "We need to have an all around meeting so that an end is put to the deterioration."

A spokesman for the Bognor Birdman contest said they are still waiting to find out if this year's competition can go ahead.

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