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West Pier plan with potential?
For the first time the three people at the heart of plans for Brighton’s iconic West Pier are lifting the lid on their ambitions.
The news that a millionaire property developer was working on plans to rebuild the iconic structure drew a mixed reaction.
But nobody can deny that his intervention has energised the debate like nothing else since fire gutted the pavilion eight years ago.
Unlike many who have launched and then dropped their plans for the pier, Mr Holland has a track record of delivering on his word – from Stanmer House to the Engineerium in Hove.
There are other interests at stake, of course, and their views must be heard.
But if nothing else, the future of West Pier is firmly back on the agenda.
Renewed West Pier
Adam Bates, head of tourism and venues at Visit Brighton, the council’s tourism arm, has cautioned that any plan must deliver sustainable benefits to the city.
He said: “The key is that any plans must not conflict with plans for the Brighton i360. This project has its permissions and will be great for the city.
"As long as the proposals can exist in harmony, then that is a good thing.
"But the scale of the challenge and its complexity cannot be underestimated.
“It would need to be sustainable in the long term. It may not be in anyone’s interests if an operator took on something which proved a drain on its resources and also took business from the Palace Pier, meaning that both venues suffered.
“If the city can benefit from a renewed West Pier, then great – why wouldn’t you want that? But there are a lot of details to be considered first.”
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “This Grade 1 listed area has long been crying out for regeneration, and imaginative proposals like the i360 can bring innovative new designs to the city’s landscape.
“A tasteful and well thought through redevelopment would bring a real energy to this part of the seafront, as well as create much needed new jobs for local people and boost other businesses in the area.”
Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove, said: “An ambitious new pier should be built on the site that incorporates all sorts of different uses so that as many people as possible get to use it.
"As a supporter of live music, I would opt for some sort of venue at its heart, with hotels and shops around the edges.
“There is no point in pretending that a replica of the old pier might be possible. After all, there is nothing worse than a fake old building.
“Whatever is built should push forward the boundaries of architectural design. Perhaps a public competition could be held to pick something truly wonderful.”