A Sussex-based property developer hopes to begin the reconstruction of Brighton’s West Pier in time for its 150th anniversary in 2016.

The pier hasn’t been open to the public since 1975 and was destroyed by a fire in 2003.

The West Pier Trust has taken responsibility for the pier since 1984, but property developer Mike Holland believes it is now time for the Trust to allow him to begin its renovation.

“I’ve stood back for a long time waiting for someone to come up to the plate. Nobody has, let’s crack on with it.”
Mr Holland is aiming to follow the example of the pier in Weston-super-Mare, which was successfully re-opened in 2010 after it burned down in 2008.

He estimates that the cost of rebuilding the West Pier would stand at approximately £25 million, which would be provided by local business people and heritage funding.

However, Rachel Clark, Chief Executive of the West Pier Trust, has expressed scepticism towards this figure and has stated that the immediate priority is the completion of the i360 tower.

“I would say it’s unlikely to create a new pier out of what remains of the West Pier for that little money. We are completely committed to delivering the i360 first. Once we have the i360 we think it’s very likely we’ll also be able to get the new West Pier, but the financial equations are very tricky with piers.”

The i360 is a planned 600ft observation tower on the Brighton seafront, which is now expected to be completed in 2013. This follows delays in getting funding due to the economic crisis.

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