Ambitious plans to restore the derelict West Pier have been put forward by a new consortium.

The scheme is being suggested at a meeting with Brighton and Hove City Council today.

Last week, English Heritage pulled the plug on a proposal to restore the Grade I listed pier to its original state.

But the consortium believes it can link the revived pier to major projects, including the rebuilding of the Brighton Centre and a monorail running from Brighton Marina.

Three leading players in the city - builder John Regan, impresario and songwriter David Courtney and former chief finance officer for Brighton and Hove Howard Attree - have formed the group called City Partnership.

Also backing the new consortium is former world champion boxer Chris Eubank, who once wanted to live on the pier.

Mr Regan, whose company Birch Restorations is named after the pier's designer Eugenius Birch, said: "This is not the end but the beginning."

He said pieces of the pier which had been saved, including cast iron columns, could be used to rebuild the shore end of the pier.

But the main structure would be a replica built in modern materials with cast steel supports.

The restored pier, with a moving walkway, would have a pavilion at the end. It would also contain The Brighton Story, a display similar to a successful venture in Oxford.

At the shore end there would be a hotel and conference centre, mostly below the level of King's Road.

This could in turn be linked with the new Brighton Centre scheme.

The city council is currently working out what should be done on a large site stretching from the Hilton Metropole to Churchill Square and the King's West Centre.

Mr Regan said talks were being opened with all the main parties.

He said: "City Partnership will act as a catalyst to get this scheme going and to bring everyone together."

Brighton West Pier Trust chief executive Geoff Lockwood said: "What everyone will want to see is if there is hard cash available."

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Ken Bodfish said: "We are interested in all ideas that will save the West Pier."

Tuesday August 03, 2004