Thanks all the responses, very much appreciated.
Changed out the VANOS seals and gasket, VCG and rubber VC boly washers, along with both belts and the upper tensioner roller/wheel. All went well and is now running like a champ.
Concluded that what I had assumed was the crank PS bracket was redundant. Thanks everyone's input on that.
have now done my daughter's 2000 323i double VANOS and my 98 E39 single. Can advise that the VANOS seals can be done, without the required "special tools" although it is a little more tedious. The only "thing" I had to jimmy together was a bolt on jig to hold the VANOS pistons in the correct plane, for the E46.