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i360 construction latest, Profile ofRachel Clark,  New Pier Options, West Pier Art project, HLF Application, Refreshed Website
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Lightening Over the Pier

Summer storms captured by photographer Ben Harvey

i360

Progress continues on site with the sewer diversion well underway. This work will take several weeks. Locals will have noticed that hoarding has been erected at the upper esplanade level displaying information about the project. Work by local artists will decorate hoarding on the lower esplanade starting with an event on 4th September:
Local graffiti legends Aroe and Gary will start painting at 10am and continue for most of the day. They'll be covering a section of our hoardings with a huge piece of original artwork - even we don't know what they've got in store! It'll be a fab event to come and watch, so don't forget your camera. (from Brighton i360's Facebook page)
The best way to keep up to date with  construction is to look regularly at Brighton i360's blog - click here for posts.


Rachel Clark, Trust Chief Executive - a profile

With the aim of familiarising you with the work of the West Pier Trust and the people behind it, we’ve recently been running profiles on members of the Board.  First in the spotlight was Chair of the Trust, ex-Brighton & Hove Council Chief Executive, previous Royal Sussex County Hospital NHS Trust chairman and public sector visionary Glynn Jones.  In July, we met Fred Gray, Trust historian, archivist and author of the definitive history of the West Pier ‘Walking on Water’, who juggles this with his day job of Emeritus Professor of Continuing Education at the University of Sussex.  This month we turn our attention to Chief Executive, Rachel Clark, now 21 years in her role and tireless champion of the West Pier through perhaps its most tumultuous years.  Rachel has run the Trust through the tenure of three Chairmen from its fragile position in 1993 when she first joined, to its current organisational resilience today, an achievement in which she has been pivotal.
 
Rachel was born in Street, Somerset and moved to London to take a degree in English at the University of London.  After graduating she joined the founding team behind the Almeida Theatre, a radical and pioneering art house under the direction of Pierre Audi where she developed administrative and fundraising experience.  In the early 1990’s she moved to Lewes with her young family and was soon prompted to look for part time work once her children began school.  A tip that the University of Sussex senior common room’s notice board was a good place to start the hunt resulted in Rachel responding to a small handwritten note advertising for an administrator for the West Pier Trust.  The author was Bryan Spielman, then Chair and the man generally recognised as rescuing the Trust from collapse when in 1991 a restoration proposal hit the buffers.
 
The critical turning point for the West Pier Trust came in 1994 with the creation of the National Lottery and establishment of the Heritage Lottery Fund.  At the 1994 English Heritage Conference, PM John Major proposed the West Pier as an ideal candidate for restoration through Heritage Lottery funding, providing the West Pier Trust with renewed direction and vigour.   The tenacious Bryan Spielman, now sadly terminally ill, handed over the reins to  Admiral Sir Lyndsay Bryson as the new Chair. Together with members of the Board, Rachel began the grueling process of putting together a lottery bid for funds towards the full restoration of the pier and entered many rounds of negotiation.  Settlement came in 1996 with an interim grant of £1 million for emergency repairs and then in 1998, a grant for £14.2 million towards full restoration, conditional on private sector matched funding.  Interest came from diverse (and somewhat unlikely) sources - Oliver Peyton, Chris Eubank and St Modwen (owners of Brighton Racecourse), but all options involved controversial enabling developments at the root end and took place against a backdrop of repeated legal challenges by the owners of the Palace Pier. 
 
Rachel was at home on 28th March 2003 when she took a call advising her that the pier was on fire, and rushed to the seafront to watch the devastation of the pavilion at the far end.  Despite this, substantial sections of the pier were still intact but Rachel remembers her anguish at watching the second fire slowly taking hold on a Sunday afternoon in May that year.  By Monday, the winds had risen and the fire had engulfed the concert hall.  It took a year before Lottery funding was finally and irrevocably withdrawn, years of hard toil undone and the pier condemned to its skeletal state.
 
Renewed hope came in 2005 with the approach of Marks Barfield Architects who, on the crest of their success with the London Eye, were seeking a site for an observation tower, the i360.  With planning permission granted in 2006 the project was to stutter in the face of the economic downturn but was finally signed off this year.  Throughout negotiations, Rachel has been crucial in brokering agreements, representing stakeholders such as West Pier Trust members, market traders, local residents & businesses and developing a long term development brief for the area.  She has spearheaded an educational outreach programme in partnership with the Brighton Fishing Museum and Fedora Punch & Judy and has prioritised the restoration of one of the original octagonal kiosks as a heritage centre honouring the pier.  Currently, Rachel is managing the consultation process that seeks to invite feasible proposals for a new pier, channeling rental income from the i360 and interest from the private sector.  From the devil of the administrative detail to donning a hard hat and high vis jacket in a project management capacity, Rachel is at the heart of West Pier Trust’s activity performing as spokesperson, campaigner, ambassador and facilitator.  Without her unshakable commitment, the West Pier Trust would not be the robust organisation it is today and we owe her an enormous debt of thanks.

 


 
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New Pier Options

The Board sent members the summary document early in August.
The full version is now available on our website - click here . Members have until 12th September to submit their views and we have already received many interesting and thoughtful responses. We'll give a progress update at the AGM on 20th November and then the consultation will be opened to the wider public, amenity groups and local businesses.


West Pier Art Project

Maria Kuipers, a local artist, has been inspired by the West Pier site for some years.
She is currently being funded by the Arts Council to develop a new body of work based on the changing West Pier redevelopments. She will be working in partnership with another painter on themes: Inside and Outside Spaces: Fragments: Disparate Elements: Hidden Treasure: Restoration and Recycling. Over the next 4 months she will be located at the pier site and in studio producing paintings and some collaborative pieces. 
There will be twice weekly activities at the pier and she invites the public to join her. Come along and have a chat about what she is doing. For those who would like to have a go at making some art, she will help you create something. Whatever your age there will be an activity for you to partake in.
 
Public activities : weekly 18th August to 29th September 2014
Monday and Wednesdays 8.45 - 10.45am
(weather permitting, otherwise following day same time)
Location: the beach near the vertical pillars in front of West Pier.
 
Artwork will be uploaded regularly on the West Pier Art website: www.westpierart.com and your feedback would be most welcome.
 You can find out more about Maria at: www.axisweb.org/p/mariakuipers
 
Please do take a look at the West Pier Art website.
www.westpierart.com
 


HLF Application

Our stage 1 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funds towards the restoration of the 1866 kiosk and its reinstatement as a West Pier heritage centre was submitted on 20th August. We should hear if we've been successful in December. If we get there, stage 2 is likely to take several months to complete. If all goes well we could have our heritage centre opening within months of i360.
 

Trust Website

We've recently refreshed and modernised our website, click here to take a look. It's easier to navigate and reflects, we hope, our renewed confidence!
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