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In 2004, English Heritage concluded that the pier could no longer be restored after freak storm damage in June of that year - this proved to be the last straw following previous fires and collapses.
In January 2004, the organisation said that they hoped to find funding to restore the structure to its 1866 state as a flat promenading pier. It followed a decision earlier that month by the Heritage Lottery Fund to cancel a £14m restoration grant, saying a proposed scheme half-funded by developers St Modwyn was financially too risky.
At the time, the council supported the enabling development scheme, promising to release land for it and working closely with the West Pier Trust and St Modwyn but, following English Heritage's decision, could do no more.