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BRIGHTON WEST Pier's long promised £30M refurbishment has moved a step closer.

A planning application to restore the 136 year old pier was lodged last week with Brighton & Hove City Council with the backing of English Heritage. It set out plans for a new pier filled with shops and an entertainment venue.

'The new pier will be contemporary and complement the cast iron original with a simple design of glass and steel, ' said Brighton West Pier Trust general manager Rachel Clark.

The West Pier, which is the UK's only Grade I listed pier, was forced to close in 1975 due to its dilapidated state.

Various regeneration schemes put forward since have not raised enough cash, or have been deemed architecturally inappropriate.

'Previous less sympathetic designs were opposed by English Heritage, ' said Clark.

This time all relevant heritage groups have been consulted during the concept design stage. 'English Heritage has been involved throughout, ' said Clark.

Developer St Modwen Properties and the Heritage Lottery Fund will share the initial cost.

Structural engineer Halcrow has developed the concept design with St Modwen Properties and architect KSS.

The contract will go out to tender once the application has been approved, with work expected to begin on site by summer 2003, and the pier opening two years later.

Lottery funding of £14.2M has been held back due to a threatened legal challenge from Brighton's Palace Pier, on the basis that it should be awarded some of the money.

The Lottery Commission is expected to confirm the West Pier's funding 'any day now' according to the sources at the West Pier.

Money generated from commercial activities on the pier and a low rise development on the sea front using land owned by Brighton West Pier Trust will also help pay for the scheme.


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