As Minister for Coastal Communities I would like to pass on my congratulations to all those involved on the progress made since the fire on 30 July in enabling Eastbourne Pier to reopen on 27 September.
Having personally seen the damage during my visits in early August, I am impressed with the speed in which the undamaged section of the pier has been brought back into public use.
Eastbourne Council, Cuerden Leisure, the contractors, and of course, the Police, the RNLI, Coastguard and the Fire & Rescue Service deserve huge praise for ensuring that no one was harmed during the fire, and that no further destruction was caused to the pier afterwards. Residents and traders, the wider community, Eastbourne Council and Cuerden Leisure have embodied ‘community spirit’ at its finest. From providing temporary stalls, discounts on rent and donations via the Eastbourne Pier Benevolent Fund, to creating a new beer, the resilience of your town is inspiring.
This achievement has not been without heartbreak following the tragic death of Stephen Penrice on 19 August who worked on the pier for many years. I know your community will have felt his loss deeply and I would pay tribute to him and remind you of the support your community has from Government in the task ahead.
Coastal Communities Minister.