THE undamaged part of fire-hit Eastbourne pier could be re-opened as soon as October.

Pier manager Christos Stylianou said he was working with Eastbourne Borough Council and English Heritage to replace the destroyed section, which was covered by insurance.

He said loss adjusters, engineers, contractors and insurers are working to reopen the 144-year-old, 1,000ft-long pier as soon as possible.

Engineers will check the Grade II listed structure while contractors shift debris and start replacing damaged decking and steelwork.

Mr Stylianou said: “Subject to the outcome of the surveys, we are optimistic the undamaged part of the pier will open to the public early in the final quarter of 2014.

“Further ahead we will work closely with the local authority and English Heritage on how we can best replace the destroyed parts of the pier.”

Mr Stylianou said it was heartbreaking to watch the fire destroy the arcade near the entrance to the Victorian pier, run by Cuerden Leisure Ltd.

He added: “It is only when you nearly lose something that you start to appreciate what it means to everyone. The people of Eastbourne have been unbelievable – the pulling together – true Dunkirk spirit.”

Traders, some of which did not have insurance, will have their rent waived until the end of the season and a discount offered on their 2015/16 fees.

Sussex Police are treating the fire as suspicious.