Owner warns that if latest reconstruction plans are not approved soon, West Pier may have to be demolished.
The future of Brighton's West Pier, part of which collapsed last week, will be decided next month.

West Pier Trust, the not-for-profit body that own the pier, said this week that the fate of the grade I-listed structure hinged on whether the redevelopment of the pier won planning approval from Brighton council.

Rachel Clark, manager of the trust, said: "If it doesn't go to committee this month or next month there is no chance it will go ahead." The redevelopment has been designed by KSS Architects.

Council leader Ken Bodfish said that the chances of saving the structure were slim if the redevelopment plan was rejected.

He said: "If the current proposals don't go ahead, it's a very pessimistic future for the pier. The whole thing may have to be pulled down.

"It hasn't yet been cleared up whether the part that collapsed has to be pulled down or not. The question is whether it can be stabilised until it is rebuilt."

Bodfish emphasised that the damage to the pier had not altered plans for reconstruction but had highlighted the need for stakeholders to "make a decision one way or the other".

West Pier Trust and project developer St Modwen are to meet today to decide how to speed up the reconstruction of the pier. "What has to be decided is the best way forward and that's what we're trying to hammer out," said Clark.

David Kierle, senior director at KSS Architects, is confident the revised designs for the reconstruction of the pier, built in 1866, will be given planning consent.

The restoration would retain most of the original cast-iron structure and salvage seat backs and decorative features from the theatre and concert hall, which was added in the 1920s.

"The latest plans have the support of CABE, English Heritage and Brighton residents," said Kierle. "This is the last chance the pier has to be restored. If the council turns it down, it is basically accepting that the pier will be lost. I don't think it is in a position to do that, as it is grade I-listed. It would put it in a very difficult position."

Work on the pier stalled when the Noble Organisation, owner of the rival Palace Pier, complained to the European Commission that plans to use £15m of National Lottery funds on a commercial venture broke competition laws.