In 2002, a violent storm tore into the West Pier and broke its walkway in two. The following year, fire broke out on the pier and, having been brought under control, was reignited. Authorities attributed the fires to arson but no one has ever been charged. After the fire, there were plans to restore the pier and a trust exists to raise funds to do it but most local people, who mutter darkly about likely suspects of the arson, believe the pier will never be rebuilt. Today, all that remains is the graceful ironwork skeleton of part of the pier, battered on all sides by the sea.
A new plan to create i360, an observation tower that will take 100 visitors at a time to a height of 150 meters (nearly 500 feet) above sea level, is underway. Sponsors hope to begin construction in 2009 for completion sometime in 2010.