COUNTY NEWS: Sussex Pier is up for sale

Luke Woodford SUS-140408-173839001
Luke Woodford SUS-140408-173839001
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One year on from a devastating pier blaze in Sussex, the owners of the seafront landmark are considering selling it.

Cuerden Lesiure said today (Thursday) it was “evaluating” its options concerning Eastbourne Pier.

The Herald understands the company is in talks with a buyer and a deal is imminent.

Talks have been going on with potential buyers since plans for a Victorian fairground on the decking where the Blue Room - destroyed in the July 30 fire - were first mooted.

Consent for the fairground rides was refused by Eastbourne Borough Council planners which the pier owners say was devastating and has left them with little option.

They hoped to recoup some of the cash it lost since the fire.

General manager Christos Christou said, “We are currently evaluating our options and are in dialogue with the council over what we can and cannot do. However, I fear we are too far down the line for the 2015 season.”

Today marks the first anniversary of the devastating fire.

In a statement released this morning, Cuerden Leisure bosses said, “Today marks the anniversary of the terrible day that a devastating fire took hold at Eastbourne, destroying more than a third of the pier.

“While it took less than two months to partially reopen the pier to the public, the extensive task of removing and rebuilding the deck structure and installing new utilities has taken a little longer.

“One year on and the pier is open for business as usual, minus the former Blue Room arcade, after a £4.5m investment. An investment that has seen the fabrication and installation of more than 60 tonnes of steelwork, 12,000 square feet of decking, 800 feet of balustrading and more than 10,000 man hours.”

Mr Stylianou said, “I would like to thank MPM North West, the professional team and all the contractors who have worked tirelessly to get the pier ready for the main season. As you would expect with a project of this size, the weather has played its part.

“We lost around 42 days over the winter when the cranes brought in to dismantle the skeletal frame couldn’t work because of high winds. Our original plan of being ready for Easter passed, but we did manage to make back some time.

“The delay meant we had to put back our application for introducing fairground rides – a Victorian carousel, helter skelter and the like - onto the deck for the summer.

“By way of background the pier already has planning for such rides, but due to the Grade 2 star designation of the pier, we needed to get listed building consent before we could reintroduce them on to the deck.

“You can imagine our disbelief when the application got unanimously refused by councillors, despite council and heritage officers supporting the proposal.

“The hoarding built to provide protection during construction has been scaled back, but it will need to remain for the foreseeable future due to it acting as a windbreak. The rides would have provided some protection from the wind and would have acted as a draw to the pier.”