CALLS have been made for government support for South Parade Pier following news £2m is being given to help lessen the impact on the community of fire-ravaged Eastbourne Pier.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, whose constituency covers Southsea seafront, has written to the Minister for Portsmouth, Matt Hancock, asking for funds to restore the pier to its former glory, with its future ownership still in doubt.
But Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who has recently been appointed minister for coastal communities, said Mr Hancock has got it wrong and the money would not be going to Eastbourne Pier’s owners as they are insured.
She claims it will instead go to the local authority to compensate businesses that will be affected.
Mr Hancock’s letter said: ‘Will you make representations to the government, on behalf of Portsmouth, to find funds to help support South Parade Pier?
‘This will clearly be in the interests of local business and the tourism industry that attracts so many to our city each year. I firmly believe this would represent an important gesture from the government which would provide a much-needed boost to the local economy and lead to the creation of jobs.’
But Ms Mordaunt said: ‘This money (for Eastbourne) is going to the council to mitigate some of the problems that the local authority is going to face because of what’s going to happen.
‘There will be a hardship fund for guys who are going to lose their businesses, to market the town and help to transfer events that were going on at the venue.’
In addition Ms Mordaunt said a further £3m is being added to the Coastal Communities Fund which local authorities can bid for a share of.
She has also commissioned work on how the government can help protect piers across the country.
Leon Reis, chairman of South Parade Trust, which aims to buy the pier for the community, said: ‘If they want to help piers they could start by supporting the community ownership of South Parade Pier.’