Plans for the restoration and development of Brighton's West Pier, submitted by developer St Modwen and the West Pier Trust, have been approved by Brighton council.
The restoration will be paid for with money raised from the development of three commercial pavilion buildings, and a grant from the lottery.

The plans have aroused opposition from local groups, who are concerned that the pier will block views of the sea. The provision of lottery funds for a commercial project has also aroused controversy.

Work on the £30m restoration is expected to start next January – subject to planning conditions and final government approval – and be completed by the beginning of 2006. Some emergency structural work may be done this year.

The West Pier Trust proposals are the fruit of seven years of negotiation with the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and Brighton & Hove council. A council spokesperson said that rival plans put forward by pressure group Save our Seafront had not been accepted because they were neither detailed nor costed.

The spokesperson said: "That scheme has no planning application, no lottery grant and no private sector partner. It is very difficult to see it going ahead."

He added that the West Pier Trust didn't want any involvement with the rival scheme. He said: "They've worked for decades to get this far, so that's not surprising. We can't see how they could ever end up working together at the thirteenth hour."