Leaders wants end to South Parade Pier problems

CALL FOR ACTION South Parade Pier
CALL FOR ACTION South Parade Pier
Jack Martin is calling for the return of this much-loved Tom Parker milk float after it was stolen during the night

Original Tom Parker Dairies milk float is stolen

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FRUSTRATED community groups want to see an end to the troubles surrounding Southsea’s South Parade Pier.

As previously reported in The News, the back of the structure was closed by the council last year for health and safety reasons.

Shops and arcades at the front were kept open but they have now been closed for the winter.

But Vince Faithfull, chairman of The Southsea Association, said he was sceptical about the pier’s future.

‘The situation is that South Parade Pier is in a poor state of repair,’ he said.

‘There are concerns about of how long it will survive for.

‘It’s just standing there corroding away.

‘We would like to see the city council get involved.

‘We could see potential investors, by way of restaurants and bars, and we could also see it being kept as an original seaside pier.’

Leon Reis, of The People’s Pier, which has been campaigning to see the pier turned back into a popular attraction, wants to form a takeover bid with the association. Both parties have talked about ways they could raise money to buy the pier, which had a guide price of £210,000 when it went to auction in December.

As previously reported, it failed to sell because the price was not met.

Mr Reis said: ‘Our first shot in our campaign will be a black-tie event in a large local venue and we can get prominent people from the area there.

‘We’re working on the long term. It’s not just a case of making the money just to buy it. We need to the money to fix it and develop it.’

Pier co-owner Dawn Randall dismissed talk of a sale.

‘This is the first time anyone has approached me about buying the pier, it’s absolute nonsense,’ she said.

‘We’re not selling. Safety work on the pier will begin on February 21 and it will be open in time for the summer.’

City council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘The council is talking to the pier owners, The People’s Pier and English Heritage on the best way to give the pier a viable future.’