West Pier collapses as Brighton is hit by record wet January

By Lily Blackmore and Lily Pritchard

This extreme weather has taken its toll on the West Pier, with a large chunk collapsing into the sea.

The exposed Victorian structure has become a neglected landmark of Brighton’s coastline ever since it was closed in 1975, and has suffered damage from severe storms and arson attacks in the previous decade, which have left it derelict.

There are concerns that this recent collapse may leave the pier even more vulnerable to further damage.

This comes as a blow to the West Pier Trust, which aims to preserve the area around the Pier and the history of the pier for future generations.

Originally they aimed to restore the pier to its former glory, but after recent setbacks they have focused their efforts on plans for an observation tower called the ‘i360’.

Created by the mind behind the London Eye, Mark Barfield, the i360 would allow visitors to get a unique view of the pier 150 meters above the sea, with the hope that this would generate more tourism and funds to regenerate the pier.

However, these plans for restoration may be thwarted by this recent damage to the pier, as there are calls for the pier to be demolished.

Rachel Clark, Chief Executive of the West Pier Trust, simply said the latest misfortune was “very, very sad.”

The met office has warned that more storms are still to come with the wettest January to hit Britain since 1910.

A large portion of southern England has already seen twice the average rainfall for the month, receiving 175.2 mm of rain from 1 – 28 January. This beats the previous record of 158.2 mm set in January 1988.

For the UK as a whole 164.6 mm of rain has fallen so far this month, 35 % above the long-term average, with all nations having above average rainfall.

Chris Tubbs, Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, said: “We have more Atlantic depressions heading our way during the rest of the week and over the weekend.

“Much of the southern half of Britain will see further heavy rain on Thursday evening and night, and that will be quickly followed by another storm early Saturday.

Will Stephens, RNLI Coastal Safety Staff Officer, said: “Rough seas and extreme weather might look exciting, but getting too close can be risky. So respect the water and, in particular, avoid exposed places where big waves could sweep you off your feet.”

With the promise of further storms from the met office, the future of the West Pier, and plans to redevelop it, looks bleak.

 

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