Council threatens legal action over ‘dangerous’ Southsea pier

CRUMBLING South Parade Pier has been branded dangerous by a surveyor. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (123458-4990)
CRUMBLING South Parade Pier has been branded dangerous by a surveyor. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (123458-4990)
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SOUTH Parade Pier has been branded too dangerous to remain open to the public by a city council surveyor.

The local authority has written to the historic building’s joint-owner Fred Nash threatening legal action if urgent work to make the structure safe is not started.

The council has also ‘strongly advised’ that the pier be closed immediately to prevent harm to members of the public.

It follows a request from the authority last year for immediate repairs and maintenance to begin because of concerns raised by a survey carried out in September.

In his letter the council’s principal building surveyor Michael Osbaldstone said no response was ever received, and no work was carried out, so another assessment took place on October 17 this year.

He wrote: ‘This has led the council to the conclusion that the structure has deteriorated to such an extent that it is dangerous.

‘It is open to the council to take action under Section 77 of the Building Act 1984, to apply to magistrates for an order requiring you to do works which would bring the danger to an end and so protect the public interest.’

He added that the council would be seeking for the pier and the beach underneath to be fenced off until the necessary work has been completed.

But Mr Nash, who has already barred everyone except fishermen from the end of the pier, said he did not want to rush into taking any further action until he had met the council.

‘I’m meeting the council on Friday,’ he said. ‘We will do whatever the council recommends together with our own experts.

‘I think there has been a misunderstanding and I don’t have the report the council was concerned about, so I’m not sure what they are referring to.’

Leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘It is clear that the current owners are not keeping the pier properly.

‘If it is dangerous for people to walk on or underneath we will have to take action to protect members of the public.

‘This is not the way to run a pier and we need to find someone who will take it on who will revive it and invest in it.’

He added that the council was still unable to run the pier itself.