Thousands flock to Argus website to read about future of Brighton's crumbling West Pier (From The Argus)
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Thousands flock to Argus website to read about future of Brighton's crumbling West Pier
The Argus saw a recordbreaking day on Tuesday when almost 100,000 visitors flocked to the paper’s website to read about the future of the West Pier.
The website had 96,378 unique visitors and 356,363 page views – the most online readers ever and only the third time in history the site has attracted more than 300,000.
The skeletal wreck of the West Pier standing on its last legs after taking a battering in a storm was one of the most read stories.
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Michael Beard, editor of The Argus, said: “This shows that The Argus is more than a newspaper.”
Now questions have been raised about the future of the West Pier.
In an online poll of nearly 3,000 readers of The Argus,21% are in favour of demolition, 36% are in favour of letting nature take its course and 43% are in favour of reconstruction.
The topic also sparked a frenzy and comments online.
Reader Jamieslacker wrote: “The pier should be rebuilt, exactly to the same specifications of the original.”
A storm at the end of 2002 saw the collapse of a corner of the Concert Hall, before two arsons destroyed the Pavilion and Concert Hall in 2003, leaving only the ruined structure.
User SchroderC said: “The day the ruins fell into the sea was a long time coming. A shameful reminder of what could have been.”
The first pier constructed in Brighton, the Royal Suspension Chain pier, was also washed away by storms after it became derelict.
And online reader Richada said: “Much as I support heritage in many forms, I do feel that we have to move on now.
“The West Pier, as we knew it, is beyond saving, under any circumstances this would be a new build project.”
The only current restoration plan hinges on the i360 project – which plans to repair part of the pier in conjunction with building a 175-metre tall observation tower.
Rachael Clark, chief executive of the West Pier Trust, said: “Since the pier was burned down in the arson attack and the Heritage Lottery Funding removed it has been inevitable that it would collapse.
“It is very interesting to hear the viewsof the public. But outside of the i360 it’s hard to imagine any investment interest.
"We have been exploring the idea of a new West Pier following the i360 becoming unconditional.”