Pier contractors back to work after tragedy

Pier fire SUS-140828-094650001
Pier fire SUS-140828-094650001

Contractors will resume work on Eastbourne Pier next week following the tragic death of workman Stephen Penrice.

The 44-year-old from Cumbria fell from the burnt-out structure on Tuesday August 19 and was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering fatal head injuries.

His death is still being investigated by both the Sussex Police and the Health and Safety Executive.

The Health and Safety Executive say it could be months before the investigation is completed.

Mr Penrice was part of a team of specialists who maintain and repair piers.

He had worked on Eastbourne Pier regularly over a period of seven years, during which time he had made many friends in the town.

Earlier this week, Eastbourne Borough Council revealed the pier had been released back to the owner, Cuerden Leisure.

The fire-damaged structure had previously been sealed off.

Councillor David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council said,“What happened was a tragedy and our thoughts are with all of the members of 
his family.

“But clearly it is important work resumes and the pier is re-opened.”

Prior to the incident they had hoped the pier would re-open in October.

They had planned to build entry and exit points on either side of the pier to enable access to the part at the rear which escaped damage.

Cllr Tutt revealed that, despite the delay in proceedings, he is hopeful of the pier re-opening on schedule.

“It does look as if they are back on schedule,” he added.

“Certainly re-opening in 2014 is realistic.

“I wouldn’t like to say that October is a definite but I know they were ahead of schedule before the incident.

Owners Cuerden Leisure did not want to comment on what the plans were for the pier once re-opened.