Brighton pier lands grants for pounds 14m

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The Independent Online
BRIGHTON'S historic West Pier, which has been closed to the public since 1975 for fear that it might fall down, has been awarded a pounds 10.65m Lottery grant to help restore it to its former glory, it was announced yesterday.

A further pounds 3.55m of lottery money has been allocated for work above-deck to restore the stunning Victorian concert hall, pavilion, arches and balustrading.

England's only Grade I listed pier will be resurrected as a leisure complex featuring restaurants, shops, a health spa and a museum, at a cost of pounds 35m.

Two of the largest private investors drafted in to make the pier commercially viable are London Regional Properties and the restaurateur Oliver Peyton's Gruppo group.

Mr Peyton, 35, one of the youngest, hippest entrepreneurs in London, who has set up the successful Atlantic Bar and Grill restaurant, Coast and Mash, will oversee the running of the pier. He promises to turn Brighton into a British Miami.

Yesterday the Irishman, who opened his first seafront nightclub aged 19, said the new-look pier would include two restaurants, two bars, an art gallery, a theatre/concert venue, mooring for 60 boats, an outdoor auditorium and "lots of things I can't

talk about yet". He added: "The pier is really one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen."

Since 1975 the structure of the pier, which was built in 1866 at a cost of pounds 27,000, has been disintegrating, a process speeded up by successive batterings in stormy weather.

Developers hope work will begin in June or July and although the completion date is 2002, the West Pier Trust hopes to make the pier accessible to the public by 2000.

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