BUSINESS owners feel they have been left in limbo after they watched their livelihoods go up in smoke.

The arcade section of the pier was utterly gutted leaving the shops and businesses on the far end of the pier cut off from the shore and the Victorian structure closed.

Some of those who owned the gift and sovereign shops told The Argus their businesses were uninsured because companies were not willing to insure outlets on a pier.

They also told how the fire could not have happened at a worse time because it was their busiest time of year and added how the fire could see some traders left in ruins.

On hold Sammy Morgan, of the Military Heroes Trading Company, a charitable trust, said she had only opened for business on their pier three weeks ago.

She added that her line of commemorative First World War bears, which were due to be sold for the first time this weekend to help raise £2 million for services charities, will now have to be put on hold.

The ex-soldier said: “We have no way of claiming from anybody.

“But because of the fire at Weston Super Mare’s pier, there is a pot of money everyone delves into if there is ever another tragedy on a pier.

“Insurance companies will not insure piers any longer – we were only aware of that two weeks after we moved on, and we have been there for three.

“For some, their businesses and livelihoods have gone down the pan. The glass shop has been there since 1963 and the little clothing shop has been run for 25 years.”

Business owners gathered at the Queen’s Hotel, near the pier, to discuss their situation.

Kath Pook, owner of the pier gift shop, said: “We are in limbo. We are the shops but we do not know anything. We are waiting for someone to come and talk to us.

“There was a meeting this morning with the hoteliers but the most important people are us. It is our living and nobody has spoken to us yet and we are waiting. None of us are insured, we cannot get insured for fire because of all the other piers which have gone up in flames. We have been here since last night and we are still here. We are all waiting for someone to say something to us.”

Christos Stylianou, general manager of Eastbourne Pier, was unavailable for comment.