BRIGHTON'S WEST PIER

 

  PROTECTING HERITAGE ASSETS ALONG THE SUSSEX COAST AGAINST DERELICTION AND DISREPAIR - FOR THE BENEFIT OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

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Brighton's west pier was destroyed by fire leaving this rusting hulk

 

 

BRIGHTON WEST PIER - The West Pier was a magnificent pier in Brighton, England. As with Eastbourne's pier, it was designed by Eugenius Birch, opening in 1866 and closing in 1975. The pier was the first to be Grade I listed in Britain but became increasingly derelict after closure. Listing is therefore no security, but almost a death sentence in some circumstances due to the increase in costs in planning terms.

 

The pier was constructed during a boom period in pleasure pier building in the 1860s, and was designed to attract tourists to Brighton. It was the town's second pier, joining the Royal Suspension Chain Pier of 1823. It was extended in 1893, and a concert hall was added in 1916. The pier reached its peak attendance during this time, with 2 million visitors between 1918 and 1919. Its popularity began to decline after World War II, and concerts were replaced by a funfair and tearoom. A local company took ownership in 1965, but could not meet the increased maintenance cost, and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. They could not find a suitable buyer, so the pier closed in 1975 and subsequently fell into disrepair. Eastbourne pier could suffer the same fate, simply because the demand for seaside attractions is all but dead. Most visitors to south coast piers are retired couples looking for a bun and a cup of tea. List Entry Number: 1381655

 

 

 

 

TOTAL HERITAGE LOSS THROUGH MIS-MANAGEMENT

 

A compulsory purchase order might have saved what was one of the finest piers in the world. Inaction on the part of Brighton & Hove City Council is therefore partly to blame for the loss of a Grade I listed structure. All too often councils neglect their duty to protect the historic built environment, in accordance with the World Heritage Convention of 1972.

 

In the case of the Palace pier, a temporary permission for a fun fair has lapsed into some kind of permanence with the loss of a theatre. How that situation has come about is a mystery. It seems money talks. They'd rather have the cash, and forget the heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBC NEWS 26 FEB 2003 - PIER RESTORATION PLANS APPROVED

 

A 30m scheme to restore Brighton's derelict and storm-damaged West Pier has been approved.

Despite opposition, councillors granted planning permission for the proposals drawn up by owners, the West Pier Trust.

Nine of the 12 members of Brighton and Hove City Council's planning committee backed the plans, with two voting against and one abstention.

But campaigners opposed to the design of the plans have vowed to fight for a public inquiry.

The pier has been closed to the public since 1975 and has been the subject of various development plans since then.

HURDLES TO OVERCOME

But none have gone ahead and on 30 December a walkway and a large section of the ballroom collapsed into the English Channel after being battered by storms.

More bad weather caused further damage on 20 January, prompting the owners to say quick action after the first collapse could have prevented the further damage. 

Geoff Lockwood, chairman of the West Pier Trust, said: "Today's positive decision does not guarantee the restoration of the West Pier. There are still hurdles to overcome.

"But what is important is that a negative decision today would have sealed the fate of the West Pier."

Many of the protesters say they are in favour of the pier being restored to its former glory, but not in the design proposed by the West Pier Trust.

They say the planned development of cafes and bars at the promenade end of the Grade I listed pier would obstruct views of the sea.

Fifteen conservation groups from the Brighton and Hove area made formal objections to the plans.

Among them was the Regency Square Area Society, for whom spokeswoman Sue Paskins told the meeting: "This will be utterly devastating for generations to come.

"We don't want this, the city does not want this.

"We want the West Pier to be restored but not at this cost."

But Sir Anthony Glossop of developers St Modwens told councillors: "If you do not accept our scheme you will be left with nothing. You can save the West Pier or consign it to oblivion."

As part of the plans the pier will be raised to cope with expected sea level rises due to global warming.

It is estimated it will cost more than 22m to restore the structure and 8m to build the new development. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIER CONTACTS

HLF Press Office: Katie Owen on 020 7591 6036 / 07973 613 820.


 

 

 

Terry at Eastbourne pier in September 2015

 

 

EASTBOURNE PIER 2015 - Is a monument at risk. Terry is seen here on a site visit to check the condition of the underlying structure. What he found was not encouraging. There is a lot of work to do to bring this important coastal attraction back into a condition to be proud of.

 

The business plan includes developing a marine/natural history display that will make this structure the place to visit on the south coast of England. We are not at liberty to disclose the details of such proposals lest imitators poach the creative lead of the Cleaner Oceans Club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PALACE PIER - Brighton's Victorian seaside (free to enter attraction) boasts a funfair, gaming hall and plenty of fresh sea air

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHURCH STREET - Brighton Museum and Art Gallery provides a fun day out for all the family. Entry used to be free, but is now quite expensive for those who do not plan to visit again in the near future. It is not so costly for those who might visit more often, such as those who live in Brighton or Hove, or surrounding towns and villages. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS

 

http://risk.historicengland.org.uk/register.aspx?id=46600&rt=0&pn=1&st=a&ctype=any&crit=pier+hastings

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2801859.stm

https://www.hlf.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/tide-turns-hastings-pier

https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/ccf

http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/

http://www.hlf.org.uk/

http://www.historicengland.org.uk/

southeast@HistoricEngland.org.uk


 

 

 

 

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