Council bosses have pledged to open Eastbourne Pier again in “months rather than years”.

Eastbourne Borough Council met yesterday to discuss the future of the burned out pier – promising traders their livelihoods will be protected.

Council bosses met with management and stakeholders to discuss the long and short term future of the Victorian structure and the effects on those whose businesses depend on it.

David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said the pier’s management expect to have the surviving two thirds reopen in “months rather than years”.

He also assured people they will still be able to trade on the seafront and commended the town for “rallying round” following last week’s inferno which left the pier’s arcade a skeletal wreck.

Mr Tutt said out of 38 people directly employed by the pier, 23 have already got new employment, five have been retained and the rest are being helped by the council to find jobs or benefits.

He added: “Concessionaries will have opportunities to hold stalls at Airbourne and beyond that we are looking at a marquee to trade from on August 18.”

He said the effected traders will also be able to draw from the donation-funded benevolent fund as well as £50,000 from the £2 million granted to the town by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Tutt said the rest of the money will be used to help set up the marquees and to promote tourism so people realise Eastbourne is “open for business”.

Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne said: “The business community, the council and the hoteliers are all working very closely with the pier owners to minimise damage to our summer trade.

“Equally the whole town is supporting those concessionaires whose livelihoods have been destroyed while at the same time every effort is being made to help staff who have had to be laid off as a result of this awful fire.”

“Right from the very beginning the Eastbourne community has pulled together to help our town get through the disaster that affected our beloved pier.”

Copy Hastings example, says minister

Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt MP has urged Eastbourne to take a leaf out of Hastings’ book to see the pier back in action as quickly as possible.

When asked about the importance of piers during a visit to Sussex on Tuesday, she said: “They’re vitally important and I understand because I’m a Portsmouth girl and our pier is in need of a lot of love. “We had the sad situation at Eastbourne and regenerating piers is tough because of the complexities in terms of ownership. But Hastings is real evidence you can bring together public funding, private sector investment and community support to get their piers regenerated quickly.”

Two minutes to get to fire

FIRE crews reached blazing Eastbourne Pier two minutes after being called, authorities have revealed. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) was called at 3.13pm and both Eastbourne engines were on the scene at 3.15pm.

ESFRS has released figures showing the scale of the operation to tackle the blaze last Wednesday that destroyed the pier’s arcade.

A time-line shows how the fire was officially over at 11.44am the next day.

Fifteen officers, including the chief and deputy-chief fire officer, and appliances from 17 stations as well as Eastbourne worked on the blaze, which is being treated by police as suspicious.